This winter air is keen and cold,
And keen and cold this winter sun,
But round my chair the children run
Like little things of dancing gold.
Sometimes about the painted kiosk The mimic soldiers strut and stride, Sometimes the blue-eyed brigands hide In the bleak tangles of the bosk.
And sometimes, while the old nurse cons Her book, they steal across the square, And launch their paper navies where Huge Triton writhes in greenish bronze.
And now in mimic flight they flee, And now they rush, a boisterous band - And, tiny hand on tiny hand, Climb up the black and leafless tree.
Ah! cruel tree! if I were you, And children climbed me, for their sake Though it be winter I would break Into spring blossoms white and blue!

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