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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

The Children Band

By Sir Aubrey de Vere (1788–1846)

From ‘The Crusaders’

ALL holy influences dwell within

The breast of childhood; instincts fresh from God

Inspire it, ere the heart beneath the rod

Of grief hath bled, or caught the plague of sin.

How mighty was this fervor which could win

Its way to infant souls!—and was the sod

Of Palestine by infant Croises trod?

Like Joseph went they forth, or Benjamin,

In all their touching beauty to redeem?

And did their soft lips kiss the Sepulchre?

Alas! the lovely pageant, as a dream,

Faded! They sank not through ignoble fear;

They felt not Moslem steel. By mountain stream,

In sands, in fens, they died—no mother near!