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A Child’s Laughter

All the bells of heaven may ring
All the birds of heaven may sing
All the wells on earth may spring
All the winds on earth may bring
All sweet sound together;
Sweeter far than all things heard
Hand of harper, tone of bird
The sound of woods at sundown stirred
Welling water’s winsome word
Wind in warm wan weather

One thing yet there is, that none
Hearing ere its chime be done
Knows not well the sweetest one
Heard of the man beneath the sun
Hoped in heaven hereafter
Soft and strong and loud and light
The very sound of very light
Heard from morning’s rosiest height
When the soul of all delight
Fills a child’s clear laughter

Golden balls of welcome rolled
Never forth such notes, nor told
Hours so blithe in tones so bold
As the radiant mouth of gold
Here that rings forth heaven
If the golden crested wren
Were a nightingale_why, then
Something seen and heard of men
Might be half as sweet as when
Laugh a child of seven

Algernon Charles Swinburne

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