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We are seven

(by William Wordsworth)

A simple child...

That lightly draws its breath

And feels its life in every limb,

What should it know of death?


I met a little cottage girl-

She was eight years old, she said;

Her hair was thick with many a curl

That clustered 'round her head.


She had a rustic, woodland air

And she was wildly clad;

Her eyes were fair, and very fair;

Her beauty made me glad.


"Sisters and brothers, little maid,

How many may you be?"

"How many? Seven in all," she said

And wondering looked at me.


"And where are they? I pray you tell."

She answered, "Seven are we;

And two of us at Conway dwell

And two are gone to sea."


"Two of us in the churchyard lie,

My sister and my brother

And in the churchyard cottage, I

Dwell near them with my mother."


"You say that two at Conway dwell

And two are gone to sea,

Yet, ye are seven! I pray you tell,

Sweet maid, how this may be."


Then did the little maid reply,

"Seven boys and girls are we;

Two of us in the churchyard lie,

Beneath the churchyard tree."


"You run about, my little maid,

Your limbs they are alive;

If two are in the churchyard laid

Then ye are only five."


"Their graves are green, they may be seen,"

The little maid replied,

"Twelve steps or more from my mother's door

And they are side by side."


"My stockings there I often knit,

My kerchief there I hem;

And there upon the ground I sit

And sing a song to them."


"And often after sunset, sir,

When it is light and fair

I take my little porringer

And eat my supper there."


"The first that died was sister Jane;

In bed she moaning lay,

Till God released her of her pain

And then she went away."


"So in the churchyard she was laid

And, when the grass was dry

Together round her grave we played,

My brother John and I."


"And when the ground was white with snow

And I could run and slide,

My brother John was forced to go

And he lies by her side."


"How many are you, then," said I,

"If they two are in heaven?"

Quick was the little maid's reply,

"O master! We are seven."


"But they are dead; those two are dead!

Their spirits are in heaven!"

'T was throwing words away; for still

The little maid would have her will

And said... "Nay, we are seven!"