This poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was somewhat of a 'thing' in my mother's family when she was growing up. For some reason or another my great-grandmother believed all nice, proper young ladies should be able to happily recite lengthy poems off the top of their heads upon request. To appease her, my grandmother somehow chose this particular poem and made sure my mother and her five sisters knew it word for word in case their Nana should ask. She would sometimes have them recite it before they could eat their desert, and even went so far as to frame a printed copy of the verse for each daughter to hang beside her bed. Incrediby ridiculous, if you ask me.
Now, all these years later, every girl of the next generation of my family also knows this by heart, not because we were forced but because it was somewhat of a joke for all of us to recite it together, melodramatically after thanksgiving dinner to the dismay of the family men who can only roll their eyes, as usual.
so, here goes, off the top of my head, the classic Children's Hour:
Between the Dark and the Daylight, when the night is beginning to lower,
comes a pause in the day's occupation 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, decending the broad hall stair,
grave Alice and laughing Alegra, and Edith with gold
And then a silence, yet I know by their merry eyes,
they are plotting and planning against me
, to take me by surprize.
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 in to my turret, their arms about me entwined,
till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
, in his mouse-tower on the Rhine
Do you think, O blue-eyed bandidi
, because you have scaled the wall,
such an old moustache as I am is not a match for y'all
I have you fast in my fortress, and will not let you depart.
But will keep you down in the dungeon, in the mouse-tower of my heart.
And there will I keep you forever? Yes. Forever and a day
Till the walls shall crumble in ruin, and moulder to dust, away.
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow