Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MY FORE-ELDERS, by WILLIAM BARNES



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MY FORE-ELDERS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When from the child that still is led
Last Line: Their child's late child. And know of me!
Subject(s): Ancestors & Ancestry; Heritage; Heredity


WHEN from the child that still is led
By hand, a father's hand is gone --
Or when a few-year'd mother, dead,
Has left her children, growing on --
When men have left their children staid,
And they again have boy and maid --
Oh! can they know, as years may roll,
Their children's children, soul by soul.
If this, with souls in Heav'n, can be,
Do my fore-elders know of me?

My elders' elders, man and wife,
Where borne full early to the tomb,
With children, still in childhood life,
To play with butterfly or bloom.
And did they see the seasons mould
Their faces on, from young to old;
As years might bring them, turn by turn,
A time to laugh or time to mourn.
If this with souls in Heav'n can be,
Do my fore-elders know of me?

How fain I now would walk the floor
Within their mossy porch's bow,
Or linger by their church's door,
Or road that bore them to and fro,
Or nook where once they built their mow,
Or gateway open to their plough --
Though now, indeed, no gate is swung,
That their live hands had ever hung --
If I could know that they would see
Their child's late child. and know of me!





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