Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE CIRCUS, by JOHN LAWSON STODDARD

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE CIRCUS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The circus tent was crowded
Last Line: Where they had stood before!
Subject(s): Children; Circus; Smiles; Childhood

The circus tent was crowded
With people from the town;
Within the ring of sawdust
Were acrobats, and clown,
And brightly spangled riders,
Whose steeds, with prancing feet,
Kept step with conscious pleasure
To music's rhythmic beat.

Outside the magic circle,
Unable to do more,
A group of ragged urchins
Stood, wistful, near the door,
Their glowing fancy painting
A gay, enchanting scene,
Quite hopelessly beyond them
Behind that canvas screen.

At length, in sheer amazement,
The youngsters gave a shout;
A miracle had happened,
A man was coming out!
They cried: -- "The show's not ended;
How could you come away?
But if you do not like it,
Please pay for us to-day!"

He scanned their eager faces
Through eyes that soon grew dim, --
So dear to them were pleasures
That worthless seemed to him! --
Then put some silver gladly
In every little hand,
But why he smiled so sadly
They could not understand.

In rushed the joyous children
To acrobats and clown;
The old man's gift of silver
Had put all barriers down;
But little did they fancy
When once inside the door,
That he was standing, wistful,
Where they had stood before!

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