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Upton Sinclair, ed. (1878–1968).
The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest.  1915.
 
The Children of the Poor
(Translated by Algernon Charles Swinburne)

By Victor Hugo

(The poet and humanitarian of France, 1802–1885)
 
TAKE heed of this small child of earth;
  He is great: he hath in him God most high.
Children before their fleshly birth
  Are lights alive in the blue sky.
 
In our light bitter world of wrong        5
  They come; God gives us them awhile.
His speech is in their stammering tongue,
  And his forgiveness in their smile.
 
Their sweet light rests upon our eyes.
  Alas! their right to joy is plain.        10
If they are hungry, Paradise
  Weeps, and, if cold, Heaven thrills with pain.
 
The want that saps their sinless flower
  Speaks judgment on sin’s ministers.
Man holds an angel in his power.        15
  Ah! deep in Heaven what thunder stirs,
 
When God seeks out these tender things
  Whom in the shadow where we sleep
He sends us clothed about with wings,
  And finds them ragged babes that weep!        20
 
 
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