Charley And His Father by Eliza Lee Cabot Follen

A BALLAD.

The birds are flown away,
The flowers are dead and gone,
The clouds look cold and gray
Around the setting sun.

The trees with solemn sighs
Their naked branches swing;
The winter winds arise,
And mournfully they sing.

Upon his father’s knee
Was Charley’s happy place,
And very thoughtfully
He looked up in his face;

And these his simple words:–
“Father, how cold it blows!
What ‘comes of all the birds
Amidst the storms and snows?”

“They fly far, far away
From storms, and snows, and rain;
But, Charley dear, next May
They’ll all come back again.”

“And will my flowers come, too?”
The little fellow said,
“And all be bright and new,
That now looks cold and dead?”

“O, yes, dear; in the spring
The flowers will all revive,
The birds return and sing,
And all be made alive.”

“Who shows the birds the way,
Father, that they must go?
And brings them back in May,
When there is no more snow?

“And when no flower is seen
Upon the hill and plain,
Who’ll make it all so green,
And bring the flowers again?”

“My son, there is a Power
That none of us can see
Takes care of every flower,
Gives life to every tree.

“He through the pathless air
Shows little birds their way;
And we, too, are his care,–
He guards us day by day.”

“Father, when people die,
Will they come back in May?”
Tears were in Charley’s eye,–
“Will they, dear father, say?”

“No! they will never come;
We go to them, my boy,
There, in our heavenly home,
To meet in endless joy.”

Upon his father’s knee
Still Charley kept his place,
And very thoughtfully
He looked up in his face.

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