602. 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!

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