When the lessons all are ended,
And the school for the day is dismissed.
And the little ones gather round me
To bid me good-night and be kissed;
Oh! the little white arms that encircle
My neck in a tender embrace!
Oh! the smiles that are halos of Heaven
Shedding sunshine of joy on my face!
And when they are gone I sit dreaming
Of my childhood too lovely to last;
Of love that my heart well remembers
When it wakes to the pulse of the past,
Ere the world and its wickedness made me
A portion of sorrow and sin-
When the glory of God was about me,
And the glory of gladness within.
Ohl my heart grows as weak as a woman's,
And the fountain of feeling will flow
When I think of the path. steep and stony,
Where the feet of the dear ones must go;
Of the mountains of sin hanging o'er them,
Of the tempest of fate blowing wild;
Ohl there's nothing on earth half so holy
As the innocent heart of a child.
They are idols of hearts and of households;
They are angels of God. in disguise;
His sunlight still sleeps in their tresses,
His glory still gleams in their eyes.
Oh I those truants from home and from Heaven.
They make me more manly and mild;
And I know now how Jesus can liken
to a child. kingdom of God
I ask not a life for the dear ones,
All radiant, as others have done;
But that life may have just enough shadow
To temper the glare of the sun.
I would pray God to guard them from eviI-
But my prayer would bound back to myself-
Ah! a seraph can pray for a sinner,
But a sinner must pray for himself.
The twig is so easily bended,
I have banished the rule and the rod;
I have taught them the goodness of knowledge,
They have taught me the goodness of God.
My heart is a dungeon of darkness;
When I shut them from breaking a rule;
My frown is sufficient correction-
My love is the law of the school.
I shall leave the old house in the autumn
To traverse its threshold no more.
Ah! how I shall sigh for the dear ones
That meet me each morn at the door!
I shall miss the "good-nights" and the kisses,
And the gush of their innocent glee,
The group on the green, and the flowers
That are brought every morning to me.
I shall miss them at morn and at even,
Their songs in the school and the street;
I shall miss the low hum of their voices,
And the tramp of their delicate feet.
When the lessons and tasks are all ended,
And death says. "The school is dismissed,"
May the little ones gather around me
To bid me good-night and be kissed.