Poems Papaw Loved: The Children’s Hour

This is one of my Papaw’s favorite poems. I have fond memories of him reciting this on his back porch. I remember him tearing up and afterwards expressing his experiences that compared with Longfellow’s as he arrived home. It’s also a vision close to my heart. For the deep, satisfying joy of a happy, loving connection to my own kids is one of the great joys of my life. -Sam

The Children’s Hour
by 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!

One Comment

  1. Wow! This poem has been a fixture in our family for years as well. I’m pretty sure I memorized it and/or read it dramatically for some sort of competition in middle school or something. I’m not sure how many times I’ve read it since then, so looking at it now is a very different experience. Thanks for posting this, and I’m glad that we both share memories with these verses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.