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

Margaret Elizabeth Sangster (1838–1912)

Are the Children at Home?

EACH day when the glow of sunset

Fades in the western sky,

And the wee ones, tired of playing,

Go tripping lightly by,

I steal away from my husband,

Asleep in his easy-chair,

And watch in the open doorway

Their faces fresh and fair.

Alone in the dear old homestead

That once was full of life,

Ringing with girlish laughter,

Echoing boyish strife,

We two are waiting together;

And oft, as the shadows come,

With tremulous voice he calls me,

“It is night! are the children home?”

“Yes, love!” I answer him gently,

“They’re all home long ago;”—

And I sing in my quivering treble

A song so soft and low,

Till the old man drops to slumber

With his head upon his hand,

And I tell to myself the number

At home in the better land.

At home, where never a sorrow

Shall dim their eyes with tears!

Where the smile of God is on them

Through all the summer years!

I know—yet my arms are empty,

That fondly folded seven,

And the mother heart within me

Is almost starved for heaven.

Sometimes in the dusk of evening

I only shut my eyes,

And the children are all about me,

A vision from the skies:

The babes whose dimpled fingers

Lost the way to my breast,

And the beautiful ones, the angels,

Passed to the world of the blest.

With never a cloud upon them,

I see their radiant brows,

My boys that I gave to freedom—

The red sword sealed their vows!

In a tangled Southern forest,

Twin brothers bold and brave,

They fell; and the flag they died for,

Thank God! floats over their grave.

A breath, and the vision is lifted

Away on the wings of light,

And again we two are together,

All alone in the night.

They tell me his mind is failing,

But I smile at idle fears:

He is only back with the children,

In the dear and peaceful years.

And still, as the summer sunset

Fades away in the west,

And the wee ones, tired of playing,

Go trooping home to rest,

My husband calls from his corner,

“Say, love, have the children come?”

And I answer, with eyes uplifted,

“Yes, dear! they are all at home.”