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CHILDHOOD

 ("L'enfant chantait.") 
 
 {Bk. I. xxiii., Paris, January, 1835.} 


 The small child sang; the mother, outstretched on the low bed, 
 With anguish moaned,—fair Form pain should possess not long; 
 For, ever nigher, Death hovered around her head: 
 I hearkened there this moan, and heard even there that song. 
 
 The child was but five years, and, close to the lattice, aye 
 Made a sweet noise with games and with his laughter bright; 
 And the wan mother, aside this being the livelong day 
 Carolling joyously, coughed hoarsely all the night. 
 
 The mother went to sleep 'mong them that sleep alway; 
 And the blithe little lad began anew to sing... 
 Sorrow is like a fruit: God doth not therewith weigh 
 Earthward the branch strong yet but for the blossoming. 
 
 NELSON R. TYERMAN. 


 





Poem by Victor Hugo
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