Sounding Childhood

God Bless the Little Children

God Bless the Little Children invokes the story of Jesus bringing the little children to Him from Matthew 19; Luke 18).  It is found in Eddy's book as #17--and other books of the century, too.  As I write in my book, British Hymn Books, Chapter 5, this “hymn asks that “God Bless the Little children” (No. 17)—'Wherever they may be!’   Reverse anthropocentricism equates children now with nature: ‘Flow’rs in crowded city [sic], Like birds in forest free, God bless the little children, Wherever they may be!’ (v.1). Though never naming Africa or China, children around the world are no doubt alluded to in this hymn, the natural metaphors suggesting that all living elements are ‘bless[ed]…Wherever they may be!’  It is a commanding late-century response to early colonialist rhetoric” (Clapp-Itnyre 224). 

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