When the streets all fade to dreamland,
And the people follow fast,
And it seems as though the sunshine
Was for evermore gone past;
Then we glide among the house-tops,
And we track the murky waste,
And we go about our business
With a cheerful earnest haste.
Not as though our food were plenty,
Or no dangers we might meet;
But as though the work of living
Was a healthy work and sweet.
When the gentle snow descendeth,
Like a white and glistening shroud,
For the year whose life hath ended,
Floated upwards like a cloud;
Then although the open country
Shineth very bright and fair,
And the town is overclouded,
Yet we still continue there.
Even till the spring returneth,
Bringing with it brighter birds,
Unto whom the city people
Give their love and gentle words,
And we yet again, descended
To become the least of all,
Take our name as "only sparrows,"
And are slighted till we fall.