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SONGS FOR CHILDHOOD.
A sweat like death all over him came, For the rats had eaten it out of the frame.
As he looked there came a man from the farm� He had a countenance white with alarm: " My lord, I opened your granaries this morn, And the rats had eaten all your corn."
Another came running presently,
And he was pale as pale could be.
" Fly ! my Lord Bishop, fly !" quoth he,
" Ten thousand rats are coming this way.
The Lord forgive you for yesterday!"
" I'll go to my tower on the Rhine," replied he; " 'Tis the safest place in Germany; The walls are high, and the shores are steep, And the stream is strong, and the water deep."
Bishop Hatto fearfully hastened away, And he crossed the Rhiue without delay, And reached his tower, and barred with care All the windows, doors, and loop-holes there.
He laid him down, and closed his eyes; But soon a scream made him arise. He started, and saw two eyes of flame On his pillow whence the screaming came.
He listened and looked�it was only the cat; But the Bishop he grew more fearful for that; For she sat screaming, mad with fear, At the army of rats that was drawing near.
For they have swum over the river so deep, And they have climbed the shore so steep, And up the tower their way is bent, To do the work for which they were sent.
They are not to be told by the dozen or score; By thousands they come, and by myriads and
more; Such numbers had never been seen before, Such a judgment had never been witnessed of
Down on his knees Bishop Hatto fell, And faster and faster his beads did he tell, As louder and louder drawing near, The gnawing of their teeth he could hear.
And in at the windows, and in at the door, And through the walls, helter-skelter they pour,
And down from the ceiling, and up through the floor,
From the right and the left, from behind and be�fore,
From within and without, from above and below,
And all at once to the Bishop they go.
They have whetted their teeth against the stones, And now they pick the Bishop's bones ; They gnawed the flesh from every limb, For they were sent to do judgment on him.
THE CHILDREN'S HOUR. Henry W. Longfellow.
Between the dark and the daylight, When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause iu 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 Biugen In his Mouse Tower on the Rhine.