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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

The Children Band

Sir Aubrey de Vere (1788–1846)

ALL holy influences dwell within

The breast of Childhood: instincts fresh from God

Inspire it, ere the heart beneath the rod

Of grief hath bled, or caught the plague of sin.

How mighty was that fervour which could win

Its way to infant souls!—and was the sod

Of Palestine by infant Croises trod?

Like Joseph went they forth, or Benjamin,

In all their touching beauty to redeem?

And did their soft lips kiss the Sepulchre?

Alas! the lovely pageant as a dream

Faded! They sank not through ignoble fear;

They felt not Moslem steel. By mountain, stream,

In sands, in fens, they died—no mother near!