The Children's Hour

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 
Between the dark and the daylight,
   When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations,
   That is known as the Children's Hour.
I hear in the chamber above me
   The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
   And voices soft and sweet.
From my study I see in the lamplight,
   Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
   And Edith with golden hair.
A whisper, and then a silence:
   Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
   To take me by surprise.
A sudden rush from the stairway,
   A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
   They enter my castle wall!
They climb up into my turret
   O'er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
   They seem to be everywhere.
They almost devour me with kisses,
   Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
   In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!
Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
   Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
   Is not a match for you all!
I have you fast in my fortress,
   And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
   In the round-tower of my heart.
And there will I keep you forever,
   Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
   And moulder in dust away!
 

Poems by This Author

Evangeline [excerpt] by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Lovely the moonlight was as it glanced and gleamed on the water
A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Haunted Houses by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
All houses wherein men have lived and died
Hymn to the Night by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I heard the trailing garments of the Night
Introduction to Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
My Lost Youth by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Often I think of the beautiful town
Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Snow-Flakes by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Out of the bosom of the Air
Song of the Owl by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Henry Rowe Schoolcraft
The owl
The Cross of Snow by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
In the long, sleepless watches of the night
The Day Is Done by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The day is done, and the darkness
The Harvest Moon by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
It is the Harvest Moon! On gilded vanes
The Song of Hiawatha [excerpt] by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
All day long roved Hiawatha
The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The tide rises, the tide falls
Today We Make the Poet's Words Our Own by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
To-day we make the poet's words our own
Woods in Winter by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
When winter winds are piercing chill


Further Reading

Related Poems
The Children's Hour
by Li-Young Lee
Poems About Childhood
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by Robert Frost
Don't Let Me Be Lonely [There was a time]
by Claudia Rankine
A Boy Juggling a Soccer Ball
by Christopher Merrill
A child said, What is the grass?
by Walt Whitman
Another Country
by Ryan Teitman
anyone lived in a pretty how town
by E. E. Cummings
Babylon
by Robert Graves
Because I cannot remember my first kiss
by Roger Bonair-Agard
Birches
by Robert Frost
Block City
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Blur
by Andrew Hudgins
Childhood is the Kingdom Where Nobody Dies
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
deer & salt block
by Joshua Marie Wilkinson
Early Memory
by January Gill O'Neil
Fern Hill
by Dylan Thomas
Fifteen, Maybe Sixteen Things to Worry About
by Judith Viorst
For Some Slight I Can't Quite Recall
by Ross Gay
From the Lives of My Friends
by Michael Dickman
Giraffes
by Kimiko Hahn
Going Down Hill on a Bicycle
by Henry Charles Beeching
In the Waiting Room
by Elizabeth Bishop
Jabberwocky
by Lewis Carroll
Lullaby in Blue
by Betsy Sholl
My Aunts
by Meghan O'Rourke
My Bright Aluminum Tumblers
by Michael Ryan
My Childhood
by Matthew Zapruder
Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood
by William Wordsworth
Pirate Story
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Playgrounds
by Laurence Alma-Tadema
Pledge
by Elizabeth Powell
Poem for You
by David Shapiro
Recuerdo
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Solar system bedsheets
by Sarah Vap
The Gaffe
by C. K. Williams
The Lamb
by William Blake
The Portrait
by Stanley Kunitz
The Retreat
by Henry Vaughan
The Swing
by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Tower
by W. B. Yeats
They Call This
by C. K. Williams
To My Best Friend's Big Sister
by Ross Gay
Untitled [The child thought it strange]
by Richard Meier
Untitled [You mustn't swim till you're six weeks old]
by Rudyard Kipling
We Are Seven
by William Wordsworth