Childhood, sweet and sunny childhood,
With its careless, thoughtless air,
Like the verdant, tangled wildwood,
Wants the training hand of care.
See it springing all around us --
Glad to know, and quick to learn;
Asking questions that confound us;
Teaching lessons in its turn.
Who loves not its joyous revel,
Leaping lightly on the lawn,
Up the knoll, along the level,
Free and graceful as a fawn?
Let it revel; it is nature
Giving to the little dears
Strength of limb, and healthful features,
For the toil of coming years.
He who checks a child with terror,
Stops its play, and stills its song,
Not alone commits an error,
But a great and moral wrong.
Give it play, and never fear it --
Active life is no defect;
Never, never break its spirit --
Curb it only to direct.