In Praise of Children [poem by Grant Hervey]

[Editor: This poem by Grant Hervey was published in Australians Yet and Other Verses, 1913.]

In Praise of Children

Give me the kids for comrades — I’m tired of politicians,
I’m weary of the wantons, and hard-eyed men of trade ;
Call in a troop of children — dear, golden-haired magicians,
Whose hearts are yet with Nature — whose souls are white-arrayed.

Give me the glad-eyed children. I am their friend forever,
Aye, hand in hand I’d lead them across the shining stars ;
I’m weary of cold Mammon — the people harshly clever,
Who draw their inspiration from turgid whisky-jars.

Here in the Bush I’d wander, with children’s fingers clasping —
With children’s hands so tender laid trustfully in mine.
Give me the kids for comrades — I’ll cease my worldly grasping —
Their hearts shall be my mansion, their souls shall be my shrine.

I love their sinless faces and all their happy laughter —
My heart and soul grieve always at sight of children’s tears,
I’ll march me down the world-ways, and fear no grim Hereafter,
If children’s hearts go with me across the field of years.

My hopes lie in the youngsters — the legions of To-morrow,
The pure-eyed, coming cohorts, who clasp my hands to-day ;
Together we shall conquer — shall rid the world of sorrow —
Aye, souls unborn shall help us to clear the world’s sad way !

My troops shall close around me — the troops ye take no thought of —
A mighty host to-morrow these baby souls shall be ;
We’ll show the laggard legion what stuff our hearts are wrought of —
We’ll roll the world on bravely towards Eternity !

I love their vivid voices and all their faith and fairness —
I ask no greater tribute than children’s simple trust,
Their love is all I ask for — bow down before its rareness —
Would that its light might jewel the haggard eyes of lust.

Their love has all the fragrance of tender-petalled flowers ;
Their lips, like op’ning roses, breathe happiness and love ;
Their smiles blot out the sadness of all life’s bygone hours —
Whene’er a baby blossoms, a star goes out above !

Here in the Bush I’d wander, with children’s fingers clasping —
With children’s hands so tender laid trustfully in mine.
Give me the kids for comrades — I’ll cease my worldly grasping —
Their hearts shall be my mansion, their souls shall be my shrine.




Source:
Grant Hervey. Australians Yet and Other Verses, Thomas C. Lothian, Melbourne, 1913, pages 24-26

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