Menella Bute Smedley

Children On The Shore

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We are building little homes on the sands,
We are making little rooms very gay,
We are busy with our hearts and our hands,
We are sorry that the time flits away.
Oh, why are the minutes in such haste?
Oh, why won't they leave us to our play?

Our lessons and our meals are such waste!
We can dine very well another day.
We do not mind the tide coming in,—
We can dig it a cunning little bed,
Or leave our pretty house and begin
Another pretty house in its stead;
We do not mind the sun in our eyes,
When it makes such a dazzle of the world,
That we cannot tell the sea from the skies,
Nor look where the flying drops are hurl'd.
The shells that we gather are so fair,
The birds and the clouds are so kind,

And the wind is so merry with our hair;—
It is only the People that we mind!
Papa, if you come so very near,
We can't build the library to-day;
We think you are tired of being here,
And, perhaps, you would like to go away.
There are just one or two we won't refuse,
If they come by, to help us now and then;
But we want only friends to be of use,
And not all those idle grown-up men;
Perhaps, if we hurry very much,
And don't lose an instant of the day,
There'll be time for the last lovely touch
Before the sea sweeps it all away.

Oh, children—thus working with the heart!
There's nothing so terrible as rest;
Plan only how all may take a part:
It's easy for each to do his best.
The sea, sweeping up at set of sun,
Can never make your toil be in vain;
It covers the things that you have done,
But the joy of the doing shall remain!

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Menella Bute Smedley