The Stolen Dance.

Listen !— hush !’ said a whispering voice,1
Up and away ! come, let’s rejoice,2
For no more sleep our eyes shall know3
Till we’ve danced upon the new-fallen snow.4
Mamma is in bed, and our bare little feet5
Will make a silent and swift retreat6
Down the back stairs, through the parlour door,7
And the garden gate we can clamber o’er.8
The snow like a swan’s-down carpet will be9
For our stolen moonlit dance of glee :10
Beautiful snow ! so fast to fall11
And spread such a carpet for such a ball !12
Our sparkling crystal lamps are these13
Icicles hanging from the trees ;14
And look ! on the roof of our fairy palace15
The sword-dance of the borealis !16
Oh are we not happy, joyous, and gay,17
From our lazy beds to have slipped away,18
And thus in a dance of wild delight19
Make warm the cold, white winter night ?’20
Like fairies, in fairy-rings they go21
With their soft, white feet o’er the softer snow :22
If spot on earth be free from care,23
Those gleesome children have found it there.24
Hark ! can you tell whence came that sound25
That stopped the dance’s merry round ?26
The wail of a child’s low moaning cry27
Borne on the night-breeze passing by.28
How fearfully the children go29
To where the garden hedge grows low,30
Closely clinging, hand in hand,31
A truant little angel band !32
When all at once they forward bound33
Eagerly o’er the trackless ground34
And, on the moorland bare and wild,35
Behold a poor deserted child !36
Oh truants ! it was no idle thought37
To that wandering child your footsteps brought ;38
You were called from sleep by angels bright,39
Ye little watchers of the night !40
A father’s frown they need not fear,41
Nor doubt he will their foundling rear ;42
So home to their soft warm beds they go,43
And dream of the dance on the new-fallen snow.44