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Orphan School

Robert Service

Full fifty merry maids I heard
          One summer morn a-singing;
And each was like a joyous bird
          With spring-clear not a-ringing.
It was an old-time soldier song
          That held their happy voices:
Oh how it's good to swing along
                    When youth rejoices!

Then lo! I dreamed long years had gone,
          They passed again ungladly.
Their backs were bent, their cheeks were wan,
          Their eyes were staring sadly.
Their ranks were thinned by full a score
          From death's remorseless reaping
Their steps were slow, they sang no more,--
                    Nay, some were weeping.

Dark dream! I saw my maids today
          Singing so innocently;
Their eyes with happiness were gay,
          They looked at me so gently.
Thought I: Be merry in your youth
          With hearts unrueing:
Thank God you do not know the truth
                    Of Life's Undoing!

Added: 29 Jun 2002 | Last Read: 17 Jan 2019 3:52 AM | Viewed: 3950 times

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URL: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/5312/ | Viewed on 17 January 2019.
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