My son was killed while laughing at some jest, I would
I knew
What it was and it might serve me in a time when jests
are few.

by Rudyard Kipling.

If you stop to find out what your wages will be
And how they will clothe and feed you,
Willie, my son, don't you go on the Sea.
For the Sea will never need you.

If you ask for the reason of every command,
And argue with people about you,
Willie, my son, don't you go on the Land,
For the Land will do better without you.

If you stop to consider the work you have done
And to boast what your labour is worth, dear,
Angels may come for you, Willie, my son,
But you'll never be wanted on Farth, dear!

by Rudyard Kipling.

On My First Son

Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;
My sin was too much hope of thee, lov'd boy.
Seven years thou'wert lent to me, and I thee pay,
Exacted by thy fate, on the just day.
O, could I lose all father now! For why
Will man lament the state he should envy?
To have so soon 'scap'd world's and flesh's rage,
And, if no other misery, yet age?
Rest in soft peace, and, ask'd, say here doth lie
Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry.
For whose sake, henceforth, all his vows be such,
As what he loves may never like too much.

by Ben Jonson.

To My Little Son Preston

You, who are four years old;
You, with the eyes of blue;
You with the age of gold
Young in the heart of you,
Boy with the eyes of blue:

You, with the face so fair,
Innocent-uttered words,
All the glad sunlight there,
Music of all the birds,
Boy, in your face and words:

Take you my sheaf of rhymes,
Sung for your childish ear;
Rhymes you have loved at times
Begged for, and sat to hear,
Lending a loving ear.

Since you have listened, sweet,
They to some worth attained;
Since in your heart's young beat
They for a while remained,
They to some worth attained.

by Madison Julius Cawein.

Father, I wait thy word. The sun doth stand
Beneath the mingling line of night and day,
A listening servant, waiting thy command
To roll rejoicing on its silent way;
The tongue of time abides the appointed hour,
Till on our ear its silent warnings fall;
The heavy cloud withholds the pelting shower,
Then every drop speeds onward at thy call;
The bird reposes on the yielding bough,
With breast unswollen by the tide of song;
So does my spirit wait thy presence now
To pour thy praise in quickening life along,
Chiding with voice divine man’s lengthened sleep,
While round the Unuttered Word and Love their vigils keep.

by Jones Very.

Sonnet 32: Morpheus The Lively Son

Morpheus the lively son of deadly sleep,
Witness of life to them that living die,
A prophet oft, and oft an history,
A poet eke, as humors fly or creep,

Since thou in me so sure a power dost keep,
That never I with clos'd-up sense do lie,
But by thy work my Stella I descry,
Teaching blind eyes both how to smile and weep;

Vouchsafe of all acquaintance this to tell:
Whence hast thou ivory, rubies, pearl and gold,
To show her skin, lips, teeth, and head so well?

'Fool,' answers he, 'no Indies such treasures hold,
But from thy heart, while my sire charmeth thee,
Sweet Stella's image I do steal to me.'

by Sir Philip Sidney.

Sir Walter Raleigh To His Son

Three things there be that prosper up apace
And flourish, whilst they grow asunder far,
But on a day, they meet all in one place,
And when they meet, they one another mar;
And they be these: the wood, the weed, the wag.
The wood is that which makes the gallow tree;
The weed is that which strings the hangman's bag;
The wag, my pretty knave, betokeneth thee.
Mark well, dear boy, whilst these assemble not,
Green springs the tree, hemp grows, the wag is wild,
But when they meet, it makes the timber rot,
It frets the halter, and it chokes the child.
  Then bless thee, and beware, and let us pray
  We part not with thee at this meeting day.

by Sir Walter Raleigh.

Delia Xlv: Care-Charmer Sleep, Son Of The Sable Night

XLV
Care-charmer Sleep, son of the sable Night,
Brother to Death, in silent darkness born:
Relieve my languish, and restore the light,
With dark forgetting of my cares, return;
And let the day be time enough to mourn
The shipwreck of my ill-adventur'd youth:
Let waking eyes suffice to wail their scorn,
Without the torment of the night's untruth.
Cease dreams, th' imagery of our day-desires,
To model forth the passions of the morrow;
Never let rising sun approve you liars,
To add more grief to aggravate my sorrow.
Still let me sleep, embracing clouds in vain;
And never wake to feel the day's disdain.

by Samuel Daniel.

O bitter wind toward the sunset blowing,
What of the dales tonight?
In yonder gray old hall what fires are glowing,
What ring of festal lights?


In the great window as the day was dwindling
I saw an old man stand;
His head was proudly held and his eyes kindling,
But the list shook in his hand.'


O wind of twilight, was there no word uttered,
No sound of joy or wail?

'A great fight and a good death,' he muttered;
'Trust him, he would not fail.''


What of the chamber dark where she was lying
For whom all life is done?

'Within her heart she rocks a dead child, crying
'My son, my little son.''

by Sir Henry Newbolt.

Sonnet Xvii. Composed On A Journey Homeward; The Author Having Received Intelligence Of The Birth Of A Son

Oft o'er my brain does that strange fancy roll
Which makes the present (while the flash dost last)
Seem a mere semblance of some unknown past,
Mixed with such feelings, as perplex the soul
Self-questioned in her sleep: and some have said
We lived ere yet this fleshy robe we wore.
O my sweet Baby! when I reach my door,
If heavy looks should tell me, thou wert dead
(As sometimes, thro' excess of hope, I fear),
I think, that I should struggle to believe
Thou were a Spirit, to this nether sphere
Sentenced for some more venial crime to grieve
Didst scream, then spring to meet Heaven's quick reprieve,
While we wept idly o'er thy little bier.

Sept. 20, 1796.

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Upon My Son Samuel His Goeing For England, Novem. 6, 1657.

Thou mighty God of Sea and Land,
I here resigne into thy hand
The Son of Prayers, of vowes, of teares,
The child I stay'd for many yeares.
Thou heard'st me then, and gav'st him me;
Hear me again, I giue him Thee.
He's mine, but more, O Lord, thine own,
For sure thy Grace on him is shown.
No freind I haue like Thee to trust,
For mortall helpes are brittle Dvst.
Preserve, O Lord, from stormes and wrack,
Protect him there, and bring him back;
And if thou shalt spare me a space,
That I again may see his face,
Then shall I celebrate thy Praise,
And Blesse the for't even all my Dayes.
If otherwise I goe to Rest,
Thy Will bee done, for that is best;
Perswade my heart I shall him see
For ever happefy'd with Thee.

by Anne Bradstreet.

Epitaph On Her Son H. P.

WHat on Earth deserves our trust ?
Youth and Beauty both are dust.
Long we gathering are with pain,
What one moment calls again.
Seven years childless, marriage past,
A Son, a son is born at last :
So exactly lim'd and fair.
Full of good Spirits, Meen, and Air,
As a long life promised,
Yet, in less than six weeks dead.
Too promising, too great a mind
In so small room to be confin'd :
Therefore, as fit in Heav'n to dwell,
He quickly broke the Prison shell.
So the subtle Alchimist,
Can't with Hermes Seal resist
The powerful spirit's subtler flight,
But t'will bid him long good night.
And so the Sun if it arise
Half so glorious as his Eyes,
Like this Infant, takes a shrowd,
Buried in a morning Cloud.

by Katherine Philips.

To His Son, Vincent Corbet

What I shall leave thee none can tell,
But all shall say I wish thee well:
I wish thee, Vin, before all wealth,
Both bodily and ghostly health;
Nor too much wealth, nor wit, come to thee,
So much of either may undo thee.
I wish thee learning, not for show,
Enough for to instruct and know,
Not such as gentlemen require
To prate at table or at fire.
I wish thee all thy mother's graces,
Thy father's fortunes, and his places.
I wish thee friends, and one at court,
Not to build on, but support,
To keep thee, not in doing many
Oppressions, but from suffering any.
I wish thee peace in all thy ways,
Nor lazy nor contentious days;
And when thy soul and body part,
As innocent as now thou art.

by Richard Corbet.

The Prodigal Son

COME home, come home, for your eyes are sore
With the glare of the noonday sun,
And nothing looks as it did before,
And the best of the day is done.

You have played your match, and ridden your race,
You have fought in your fight--and lost;
And life has set its claws in your face,
And you know what the scratches cost.

Out there the world is cruel and loud,
It strikes at the beaten man;
Come out of the press of the stranger crowd
To the place where your life began.

The best robe lies in the cedar chest,
And your father's ring is here;
You have known the worst, come home to the best--
You will pay for it, never fear!

In every kiss of your sister's mouth,
In each tear from your mother's eyes,
You will pay the price of the days in the South
Where the far-off country lies.

by Edith Nesbit.

Who Is Kator Anyhow?

Why, oh why was Kater lifted
From the darkness, where he drifted
All unknown, and raised to honour,
Side by side with Dick O'connor,
In the Council, free from row?
Who is Kater, anyhow?
Did he lend our armies rally,
Like the recent Billy Dalley?
Did he lend a Premier money,
Like -- (No libels here, my sonny. -- Ed. B.)
Was he, like John Davies, found
Very useful underground?

Not at all! his claim to glory
Rests on quite another story.
All obscure he might have tarried,
But he managed to get married --
And (to cut the matter shorter)
Married William Forster's daughter.

So, when Henry Edward Kater
Goes to answer his creator,
Will the angel at the wicket
Say, on reading Kater's ticket --
"Enter! for you're no impostor,
Son-in-law of Billy Forster!"

by Banjo Paterson.

The North Star Whispers To The Blacksmith's Son

The North Star whispers: "You are one
Of those whose course no chance can change.
You blunder, but are not undone,
Your spirit-task is fixed and strange.

"When here you walk, a bloodless shade,
A singer all men else forget.
Your chants of hammer, forge and spade
Will move the prarie-village yet.

"That young, stiff-necked, reviling town
Beholds your fancies on her walls,
And paints them out or tears them down,
Or bars them from her feasting halls.

"Yet shall the fragments still remain;
Yet shall remain some watch-tower strong
That ivy-vines will not disdain,
Haunted and trembling with your song.

"Your flambeau in the dusk shall burn,
Flame high in storms, flame white and clear;
Your ghost in gleaming robes return
And burn a deathless incense here."

by Vachel Lindsay.

On The Death Of His Eldest Son

Though short thy space, God's unimpeach'd decrees
Which made that shorten'd space one long disease;
Yet, merciful in chast'ning, gave thee scope
For mild redeeming virtues, faith and hope,
Meek resignation, pious charity;
And, since this world was not the world for thee,
Far from thy path removed, with partial care,
Strife, glory, gain, and pleasure's flowery snare,
Bade earth's temptation's pass thee harmless by.
And fix'd on heaven thine unreverted eye!
Oh! mark'd from birth, and nurtured for the skies!
In youth with more than learning's wisdom wise!
As sainted martyrs, patient to endure!
Simple as unwean'd infancy, and pure!
Pure from all stain (save that of human clay,
Which Christ's suff'rings now no more oppress'd,
Mount, sinless spirit, to thy destined rest!
While I - reversed our nature's kindlier doom -
Pour forth a father's sorrows on thy tomb.

by George Canning.

The Mother's Son

I have a dream -- a dreadful dream --
A dream that is never done.
I watch a man go out of his mind,
And he is My Mother's Son.

They pushed him into a Mental Home,
And that is like the grave:
For they do not let you sleep upstairs,
And you aren't allowed to shave.

And it was not disease or crime
Which got him landed there,
But because They laid on My Mother's Son
More than a man could bear.

What with noise, and fear of death,
Waking, and wounds and cold,
They filled the Cup for My Mother's Son
Fuller than it could hold.

They broke his body and his mind
And yet They made him live,
And They asked more of My Mother's Son
Than any man could give.

For, just because he had not died,
Nor been discharged nor sick,
They dragged it out with My Mother's Son
Longer than he could stick....

And no one knows when he'll get well --
So, there he'll have to be:
And, 'spite of the beard in the looking-glass,
I know that man is me!

by Rudyard Kipling.

The Carpenter's Son

"Here the hangman stops his cart:
Now the best of friends must part.
Fare you well, for ill fare I:
Live, lads, and I will die.

"Oh, at home had I but stayed
'Prenticed to my father's trade,
Had I stuck to plane and adze,
I had not been lost, my lads.

"Then I might have built perhaps
Gallows-trees for other chaps,
Never dangled on my own,
Had I left but ill alone.

"Now, you see, they hang me high,
And the people passing by
Stop to shake their fists and curse;
So 'tis come from ill to worse.

"Here hang I, and right and left
Two poor fellows hang for theft:
All the same's the luck we prove,
Though the midmost hangs for love.

"Comrades all, that stand and gaze,
Walk henceforth in other ways;
See my neck and save your own:
Comrades all, leave ill alone.

"Make some day a decent end,
Shrewder fellows than your friend.
Fare you well, for ill fare I:
Live lads, and I will die."

by Alfred Edward Housman.

1

Bright shadows of true Rest! some shoots of bliss,
Heaven once a week;
The next world's gladness prepossest in this;
A day to seek;
Eternity in time; the steps by which
We Climb above all ages; Lamps that light
Man through his heap of dark days; and the rich,
And full redemption of the whole week's flight.

2

The Pulleys unto headlong man; time's bower;
The narrow way;
Transplanted Paradise; God's walking hour;
The Cool o'th' day;
The Creatures' _Jubilee_; God's parle with dust;
Heaven here; Man on the hills of Myrrh, and flowers;
Angels descending; the Returns of Trust;
A Gleam of glory, after six-days'-showers.

3

The Church's love-feasts; Time's Prerogative,
And Interest
Deducted from the whole; The Combs, and hive,
And home of rest.
The milky way chalked out with suns; a clue
That guides through erring hours; and in full story
A taste of Heav'n on earth; the pledge, and cue
Of a full feast: And the Out Courts of glory.

by Henry Vaughan.

A Prayer For My Son

BID a strong ghost stand at the head
That my Michael may sleep sound,
Nor cry, nor turn in the bed
Till his morning meal come round;
And may departing twilight keep
All dread afar till morning's back.
That his mother may not lack
Her fill of sleep.
Bid the ghost have sword in fist:
Some there are, for I avow
Such devilish things exist,
Who have planned his murder, for they know
Of some most haughty deed or thought
That waits upon his future days,
And would through hatred of the bays
Bring that to nought.
Though You can fashion everything
From nothing every day, and teach
The morning stats to sing,
You have lacked articulate speech
To tell Your simplest want, and known,
Wailing upon a woman's knee,
All of that worst ignominy
Of flesh and bone;
And when through all the town there ran
The servants of Your enemy,
A woman and a man,
Unless the Holy Writings lie,
Hurried through the smooth and rough
And through the fertile and waste,
protecting, till the danger past,
With human love.

by William Butler Yeats.

We Sing To Thee, Thou Son Of God

We sing to Thee, Thou Son of God,
Fountain of life and grace;
We praise Thee, Son of Man, whose blood
Redeemed our fallen race.

Thee we acknowledge God and Lord,
The Lamb for sinners slain;
Who art by heaven and earth adored,
Worthy o'er both to reign.

To Thee all angels cry aloud,
Through heaven's extended coasts: -
Hail! holy, holy, holy Lord
Of glory and of hosts.

The cherubim and seraphim
Incessant sing to Thee;
The worlds and all the powers therein
Adore Thy majesty.

The prophets' goodly fellowship,
In radiant garments dressed,
Praise Thee, Thou Son of God, and reap
The fulness of Thy rest.

The apostles' glorious company
Thy righteous praise proclaim:
The martyred army glorify
Thine everlasting name.

Through all the world, Thy churches join
To call on Thee their Head,
Brightness of majesty Divine,
Who every power hast made.

Among their number, Lord, we love
To sing Thy precious blood.
Reign here, and in the worlds above,
Thou Holy Lamb of God!

by Augustus Montague Toplady.

The Prodigal Son

Afflictions, though they seem severe;
In mercy oft are sent;
They stopped the prodigal's career,
And forced him to repent.

Although he no relentings felt
Till he had spent his store;
His stubborn heart began to melt
When famine pinched him sore.

What have I gained by sin, he said,
But hunger, shame, and fear;
My father's house abounds with bread,
While I am starving here.

I'll go, and tell him all I've done,
And fall before his face
Unworthy to be called his son,
I'll seek a servant's place.

His father saw him coming back,
He saw, and ran, and smiled;
And threw his arms around the neck
Of his rebellious child.

Father, I've sinned - but O forgive!
I've heard enough, he said,
Rejoice my house, my son's alive,
For whom I mourned as dead.

Now let the fatted calf be slain,
And spread the news around;
My son was dead, but lives again,
Was lost, but now is found.

'Tis thus the Lord his love reveals,
To call poor sinners home;
More than a father's love he feels,
And welcomes all that come.

by John Newton.

Young Benjamin left school this year
And stepped right in a job;
And he starts in hope of a life career,
Like his eldest brother, Bob.
But Sam, the lad who came between,
Born in the fateful year 'thirteen,
Still vainly seeks a place;
And the mark of his fate, too plainly seen,
Dawns in his listless face.

For Sam was born in a black year,
In the year of the world's black rage
To rob his youth of childish mirth;
And another curse was on the earth
In the year he came of age.
War and depression, this grim twain,
Have clouded life for a bright young brain.

Life smiles for Benjamin and Bob,
Each lucky in his age;
But the count of years falls ill to rob
Same of his heritage:
Too old for a youth's apprenticeship,
Untrained, too young for a man's firm grip,
Tho' a man in stature grown,
He lives to see his chances slip,
Thro' no fault of his own.

For Sam was born in a black year,
In a black year came from school.
But we who know past years of ease
Hold stern responsibilities
Ere his youthful ardours cool.
Ours is the duty, ours the task
To yield what youth has right to ask.

by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis.

The Down-Hill Track

The dawnin' of prosperity
Recalls (said old George Jones)
When I was young, a song we sung,
In none too sober tones,
When easy, breezy days were here,
An' cash was wildly spent.
Small good it done to anyone;
But this is how it went:

'Oh, toil with a will to the summit of the hill.
It's the luggin' an' the tuggin' does the trick,
But be careful of the dropp when you've labored to the top,
An' the fool who makes the pace too quick.
For there's more loads spilled, an' there's more men killed,
Where the road runs to the valley down below;
So, restrain that eager itchin'; sit well back into the britchin'.
Go slow, Sonny-lad, go slow!'

I've lived me life (said old George Jones)
An' learned me lesson well:
The pampered flesh clothes no old bones,
As history's headstones tell
The 'Champagne Charlies' of my day,
The short an' merry run
High livin's tucked more men away
Than hard times ever done.

Oh, dig in yer toes where the up'ard track it goes.
It's the strivin' an' the drivin' does the trick.
But take it steady, son, when yer on the down'ard run;
'Tis the fool who makes the pace too quick.
For the most men trips when the down grade dips,
An' there's more stones a'lurkin' for your toe.
Save yer wind an' spare yer muscle for the next long uphill tussle.
Go slow, Sonny-lad, go slow!

by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis.

Those flaxen locks, those eyes of blue
Bright as thy mother's in their hue;
Those rosy lips, whose dimples play
And smile to steal the heart away,
Recall a scene of former joy,
And touch thy fathers heart, my Boy!

And thou canst lisp a father's name--
Ah, William, were thine own the same,­
No self‑reproach--but, let me cease--
My care for thee shall purchase peace;
Thy mother's shade shall smile in joy,
And pardon all the past, my Boy!

Her lowly grave the turf has prest,
And thou hast known a stranger's breast;
Derision sneers upon thy birth,
And yields thee scarce a name on earth;
Yet shall not these one hops destroy,--
A Father's heart is throe, my Boy!

Why, let the world unfeeling frown,
Must I fond Nature's claim disown?
Ah, no--though moralists reprove,
I hail thee, dearest child of love,
Fair cherub, pledge of youth and joy­
A Father guards thy birth, my Boy!

Oh, 'twill be sweet in thee to trace,
Ere age has wrinkled o'er my face,
Ere half my glass of life is run,
At once a brother and a son;
And all my wane of years employ
In justice done to thee, my Boy!

Although so young thy heedless sire,
Youth will not damp parental fire;
And, wert thou still less dear to me,
While Helen's form revives in thee,
The breast which beat to former joy,
Will ne'er desert its pledge, my Boy!

by George Gordon Byron.

To Olinthus Gregory, On Hearing Of The Death Of His Eldest Son, Who Was Drowned As He Was Returning By Water To His Father’s House At Woolrich

IS there a spot where Pity's foot,
Although unsandalled, fears to tread,
A silence where her voice is mute,
Where tears, and only tears, are shed?
It is the desolated home
Where Hope was yet a recent guest,
Where Hope again may never come,
Or come, and only speak of rest.

They gave my hand the pictured scroll,
And bade me only fancy there
A parent's agony of soul,
A parent's long and last despair;
The sunshine on the sudden wave,
Which closed above the youthful head,
Mocking the green and quiet grave,
Which waits the time-appointed dead.

I thought upon the lone fire-side,
Begirt with all familiar thought,
The future, where a father's pride
So much from present promise wrought:
The sweet anxiety of fears,
Anxious from love's excess alone,
The fond reliance upon years
More precious to us than our own:

All past—then weeping words there came
From out a still and darkened room,
They could not bear to name a name
Written so newly on the tomb.
They said he was so good and kind,
The voices sank, the eyes grew dim;
So much of love he left behind,
So much of life had died with him.

Ah, pity for the long beloved,
Ah, pity for the early dead;
The young, the promising, removed
Ere life a light or leaf had shed.
Nay, rather pity those whose doom
It is to wait and weep behind,
The father, who within the tomb
Sees all life held most dear enshrined.

by Letitia Elizabeth Landon.

The Lamentation Of David Over Saul And Jonathan His Son

Thy beauty, Israel, is gone :
Slaine in the places high is he.
The mighty now are ouerthrowne !
Oh ! thus how commeth it to be ?
Let not this newes their streets throughout
In Gath or Askalon be told;
For fear Philistia's daughters flout,
Lest vaunt the vncircumcized should.

On you hereafter let no dewe,
You mountaines of Gilboa, fall:
Let there be neither showers on you,
Nor fields that breed an offering shall;
For there with shame away was throwne
The target of the strong, alas!
The shield of Saul, euen as of one
That neu'r with oile anoynted was.

Nor from their blood that slaughter'd lay,
Nor from the fatt of strong men slaine,
Came Jonathan his bow away,
Nor drew forth Saul his sword in vaine ;
In life time they were louely faire,
In death they undiuided ayre;
More swift than eagles of the air,
And stronger they than lions were.

Weepe, Israel's daughters ! vveepe for Saul,
Who you with skarlet hath aray'd,
Who clothed you with pleasures all,
And on your garments gold hath layd.
How comes it he that mighty was
The foyle in battell doth sustaine ?
Thou Jonathan ! oh, thou, alas!
Upon thy places high wert slaine.

And much distressed is my heart,
My brother Jonathan, for thee;
My very deare delight thou wert,
And wondrous was thy loue to me:
So wondrous it surpassed farre
The love of women eu'ry way.
Oh ! how the mighty fallen are!
How warlike instruments decay.

by George Wither.

Acrostics: Ii. To My Eldest Son, In Severe Sickness

Thou sweetest, loveliest babe-my first born son;
I low great has been thy sufferings from disease!
Oh, my poor soul doth, ever and anon,
Make prayer to God, that he would give thee ease.

Ah, dearest babe! from this thy case, I read
Sad, yet true lessons of imputed sin.
Can we conceive that thou indeed art freed-
O, thought most strange-from guilt by man brought in?

Would we but read, mark, learn, and still digest
His word, who gave at first to man his being,
Error would vanish, and His will expressed,
Respecting this, we could not fail from seeing.

Doubt would remove, and so would murmur, too;
Justice would still be seen most clearly such;
Unquestionable, this fact would stand to view,
No one is free from Sin's defiling touch!

I see thy pale, emaciated face,
Once decked with bloom of health's most ruddy glow!
Regard for man would lead me still to trace-
Bent on the truth-whence all these evils flow.

Rich in possession of the Book Divine,
All I desire is that the Lord would give
Needful instruction, while I scan the line-
The line of truth, on which my soul must live.

For there I read-though Death hath ever reigned
O'er every one of Adam's sinful race-
Righteousness of Christ, by Faith unfeigned,
Delivers from its sting: all of free Grace!

Cease then, my soul, to murmur or complain,
And place thy trust upon the God of Love.
Now look to him who lose from th' grave again,
And reascended to the realms above.

Dread not the stroke, though great may be the pain,
And hard to bear, for it will work thy gain!

by Thomas Cowherd.

She dropped the bar, she shot the bolt, she fed the fire anew
For she heard a whimper under the sill and a great grey paw came through.
The fresh flame comforted the hut and shone on the roof-beam,
And the Only Son lay down again and dreamed that he dreamed a dream.
The last ash fell from the withered log with the click of a falling spark,
And the Only Son woke up again, and called across the dark:--
"Now was I born of womankind and laid in a mother's breast?
For I have dreamed of a shaggy hide whereon I went to rest.
And was I born of womankind and laid on a father's arm?
For I have dreamed of clashing teeth that guarded me from harm.

And was I born an Only Son and did I play alone?
For I have dreamed of comrades twain that bit me to the bone.
And did I break the barley-cake and steep it in the tyre?
For I have dreamed of a youngling kid new-riven from the byre:
For I have dreamed of a midnight sky and a midnight call to blood
And red-mouthed shadows racing by, that thrust me from my food.
'Tis an hour yet and an hour yet to the rising of the moon,
But I can see the black roof-tree as plain as it were noon.
'Tis a league and a league to the Lena Falls where the trooping blackbuck go;
But I can hear the little fawn that bleats behind the doe.


'Tis a league and a league to the Lena Falls where the crop and the upland meet,
But I Can smell the wet dawn-wind that wakes the sprouting wheat.
Unbar the door. I may not bide, but I must out and see
If those are wolves that wait outside or my own kin to me!"
. . . . .
She loosed the bar, she slid the bolt, she opened the door anon,
And a grey bitch-wolf came out of the dark and fawned on the Only Son!

by Rudyard Kipling.

A Poet To His Baby Son

Tiny bit of humanity,
Blessed with your mother’s face,
And cursed with your father’s mind.

I say cursed with your father’s mind,
Because you can lie so long and so quietly on your back,
Playing with the dimpled big toe of your left foot,
And looking away,
Through the ceiling of the room, and beyond.
Can it be that already you are thinking of being a poet?

Why don’t you kick and howl,
And make the neighbors talk about
“That damned baby next door,”
And make up your mind forthwith
To grow up and be a banker
Or a politician or some other sort of go-getter
Or—?—whatever you decide upon,
Rid yourself of these incipient thoughts
About being a poet.

For poets no longer are makers of songs,
Chanters of the gold and purple harvest,
Sayers of the glories of earth and sky,
Of the sweet pain of love
And the keen joy of living;
No longer dreamers of the essential dreams,
And interpreters of the eternal truth,
Through the eternal beauty.
Poets these days are unfortunate fellows.
Baffled in trying to say old things in a new way
Or new things in an old language,
They talk abracadabra
In an unknown tongue,
Each one fashioning for himself
A wordy world of shadow problems,
And as a self-imagined Atlas,
Struggling under it with puny legs and arms,
Groaning out incoherent complaints at his load.

My son, this is no time nor place for a poet;
Grow up and join the big, busy crowd
That scrambles for what it thinks it wants
Out of this old world which is—as it is—
And, probably, always will be.

Take the advice of a father who knows:
You cannot begin too young
Not to be a poet.

by James Weldon Johnson.

Son Davie! Son Davie!

'What bluid's that on thy coat lap?
Son Davie! Son Davie!
What bluid's that on thy coat lap?
And the truth come tell to me, O.'

'It is the bluid of my great hawk,
Mother lady, Mother lady!
It is the bluid of my great hawk,
And the truth I hae tald to thee, O.'

'Hawk's bluid was ne'er sae red,
Son Davie! Son Davie!
Hawk's bluid was ne'er sae red,
And the truth come tell to me, O.'

'It is the bluid of my grey hound,
Mother lady! Mother lady!
It is the bluid of my grey hound,
And it wudna rin for me, O.'

'Hound's bluid was ne'er sae red,
Son Davie! Son Davie!
Hound's bluid was ne'er sae red,
And the truth come tell to me, O.'

'It is the bluid o' my brother John,
Mother lady! Mother lady!
It is the bluid o' my brother John,
And the truth I hae tald to thee, O.'

'What about did the plea begin?
Son Davie! Son Davie!'
'It began about the cutting o' a willow wand,
That would never hae been a tree, O.'

'What death dost thou desire to die?
Son Davie! Son Davie!
What death dost thou desire to die?
And the truth come tell to me, O.'

'I'll set my foot in a bottomless ship,
Mother lady! mother lady!
I'll set my foot in a bottomless ship,
And ye'll never see mair o' me, O.'

'What wilt thou leave to thy poor wife?
Son Davie! Son Davie!'
'Grief and sorrow all her life,
And she'll never get mair frae me, O.'

'What wilt thou leave to thy young son?
Son Davie! son Davie!'
'The weary warld to wander up and down,
And he'll never get mair o' me, O.'

'What wilt thou leave to thy mother dear?
Son Davie! Son Davie!'
'A fire o' coals to burn her wi' hearty cheer,
And she'll never get mair o' me, O.'

by Andrew Lang.

Alec Yeaton's Son

GLOUCESTER, AUGUST, 1720

The wind it wailed, the wind it moaned,
And the white caps flecked the sea;
"An' I would to God," the skipper groaned,
"I had not my boy with me!

Snug in the stern-sheets, little John
Laughed as the scud swept by;
But the skipper's sunburnt cheeks grew wan
As he watched the wicked sky.

"Would he were at his mother's side!"
And the skipper's eyes were dim.
"Good Lord in heaven, if ill betide,
What would become of him!

"For me--my muscles are as steel,
For me let hap what may;
I might make shift upon the keel
Until the break o' day.

"But he, he is so weak and small,
So young, scarce learned to stand--
O pitying Father of us all,
I trust him in Thy hand!

"For Thou, who makest from on high
A sparrow's fall--each one!--
Surely, O Lord, thou'lt have an eye
On Alec Yeaton's son!"

Then, helm hard-port; right straight he sailed
Towards the headland light:
The wind it moaned, the wind it wailed,
And black, black fell the night.

Then burst a storm to make one quail
Though housed from winds and waves--
They who could tell about that gale
Must rise from watery graves!

Sudden it came, as sudden went;
Ere half the night was sped,
The winds were hushed, the waves were spent,
And the stars shone overhead.

Now, as the morning mist grew thin,
The folk on Gloucester shore
Saw a little figure floating in
Secure, on a broken oar!

Up rose the cry, "A wreck! a wreck!
Pull, mates, and waste no breath!"--
They knew it, though 't was but a speck
Upon the edge of death!

Long did they marvel in the town
At God his strange decree,
That let the stalwart skipper drown
And the little child go free!

by Thomas Bailey Aldrich.

The Prodigal Son

Here come I to my own again,
Fed, forgiven and known again,
Claimed by bone of my bone again
And cheered by flesh of my flesh.
The fatted calf is dressed for me,
But the husks have greater rest for me,
I think my pigs will be best for me,
So I'm off to the Yards afresh.

I never was very refined, you see,
(And it weighs on my brother's mind, you see)
But there's no reproach among swine, d'you see,
For being a bit of a swine.
So I'm off with wallet and staff to eat
The bread that is three parts chaff to wheat,
But glory be! - there's a laugh to it,
Which isn't the case when we dine.

My father glooms and advises me,
My brother sulks and despises me,
And Mother catechises me
Till I want to go out and swear.
And, in spite of the butler's gravity,
I know that the servants have it I
Am a monster of moral depravity,
And I'm damned if I think it's fair!

I wasted my substance, I know I did,
On riotous living, so I did,
But there's nothing on record to show I did
Worse than my betters have done.
They talk of the money I spent out there -
They hint at the pace that I went out there -
But they all forget I was sent out there
Alone as a rich man's son.

So I was a mark for plunder at once,
And lost my cash (can you wonder?) at once,
But I didn't give up and knock under at once,
I worked in the Yards, for a spell,
Where I spent my nights and my days with hogs.
And shared their milk and maize with hogs,
Till, I guess, I have learned what pays with hogs
And - I have that knowledge to sell!

So back I go to my job again,
Not so easy to rob again,
Or quite so ready to sob again
On any neck that's around.
I'm leaving, Pater. Good-bye to you!
God bless you, Mater! I'll write to you!
I wouldn't be impolite to you,
But, Brother, you are a hound!

by Rudyard Kipling.

A Parental Ode To My Son, Aged 3 Years And 5 Months

Thou happy, happy elf!
(But stop,—first let me kiss away that tear—)
Thou tiny image of myself!
(My love, he's poking peas into his ear!)
Thou merry, laughing sprite!
With spirits feather-light,
Untouched by sorrow, and unsoiled by sin;
(Good Heavens! the child is swallowing a pin!)

Thou little tricksy Puck!
With antic toys so funnily bestuck,
Light as the singing bird that wings the air;
(The door! the door! he'll tumble down the stair!)
Thou darling of thy sire!
(Why, Jane, he'll set his pinafore afire!)
Thou imp of mirth and joy!
In love's dear chain, so strong and bright a link,
Thou idol of thy parents; (Drat the boy!
There goes my ink!)

Thou cherub—but of earth;
Fit playfellow for Fays, by moonlight pale,
In harmless sport and myrth,
(That dog will bite him if he pulls its tail!)
Thou human hummingbee, extracting honey
From every blossom in the world that blows,
Singing in youth's elysium ever sunny,
(Another tumble!—that's his precious nose!)

Thy father's pride and hope!
(He'll break the mirror with that skipping-rope!)
With pure heart newly stamped from Nature's mint;
(Where did he learn that squint!)
Thou young domestic dove!
(He'll have that jug off with another shove!)
Dear nursling of the Hymeneal nest!
(Are those torn clothes his best?)
Little epitome of man!
(He'll climb upon the table, that's his plan!)
Touched with the beauteous tints of dawning life
(He's got a knife!)

Thou enviable being!
No storms, no clouds, in thy blue sky foreseeing,
Play on, play on,
My elfin John!
Toss the light ball—bestride the stick—
(I knew so many cakes would make him sick!)
With fancies, buoyant as the thistle-down,
Prompting the face grotesque, and antic brisk,
With many a lamb-like frisk,
(He's got the scissors, snipping at your gown!)

Thou pretty opening rose!
(Go to your mother, child, and wipe your nose!)
Balmy and breathing music like the South,
(He really brings my heart into my mouth!)
Fresh as the morn, and brilliant as its star,
(I wish that window had an iron bar!)
Bold as the hawk, yet gentle as the dove;
(I'll tell you what, my love,
I cannot write unless he's sent above!)

by Thomas Hood.

The Carpenter's Son

The summer dawn came over-soon,
The earth was like hot iron at noon
In Nazareth;
There fell no rain to ease the heat,
And dusk drew on with tired feet
And stifled breath.

The shop was low and hot and square,
And fresh-cut wood made sharp the air,
While all day long
The saw went tearing thru the oak
That moaned as tho' the tree's heart broke
Beneath its wrong.

The narrow street was full of cries,
Of bickering and snarling lies
In many keys--
The tongues of Egypt and of Rome
And lands beyond the shifting foam
Of windy seas.

Sometimes a ruler riding fast
Scattered the dark crowds as he passed,
And drove them close
In doorways, drawing broken breath
Lest they be trampled to their death
Where the dust rose.

There in the gathering night and noise
A group of Galilean boys
Crowding to see
Gray Joseph toiling with his son,
Saw Jesus, when the task was done,
Turn wearily.

He passed them by with hurried tread
Silently, nor raised his head,
He who looked up
Drinking all beauty from his birth
Out of the heaven and the earth
As from a cup.

And Mary, who was growing old,
Knew that the pottage would be cold
When he returned;
He hungered only for the night,
And westward, bending sharp and bright,
The thin moon burned.

He reached the open western gate
Where whining halt and leper wait,
And came at last
To the blue desert, where the deep
Great seas of twilight lay asleep,
Windless and vast.

With shining eyes the stars awoke,
The dew lay heavy on his cloak,
The world was dim;
And in the stillness he could hear
His secret thoughts draw very near
And call to him.

Faint voices lifted shrill with pain
And multitudinous as rain;
From all the lands
And all the villages thereof
Men crying for the gift of love
With outstretched hands.

Voices that called with ceaseless crying,
The broken and the blind, the dying,
And those grown dumb
Beneath oppression, and he heard
Upon their lips a single word,
"Come!"

Their cries engulfed him like the night,
The moon put out her placid light
And black and low
Nearer the heavy thunder drew,
Hushing the voices . . . yet he knew
That he would go.

A quick-spun thread of lightning burns,
And for a flash the day returns--
He only hears
Joseph, an old man bent and white
Toiling alone from morn till night
Thru all the years.

Swift clouds make all the heavens blind,
A storm is running on the wind--
He only sees
How Mary will stretch out her hands
Sobbing, who never understands
Voices like these.

by Sara Teasdale.

(MR. INTERVIEWER INTERVIEWED)

Know me next time when you see me, won't you, old smarty?
Oh, I mean YOU, old figger-head,--just the same party!
Take out your pensivil, d--n you; sharpen it, do!
Any complaints to make? Lots of 'em--one of 'em's YOU.

You! who are YOU, anyhow, goin' round in that sneakin' way?
Never in jail before, was you, old blatherskite, say?
Look at it; don't it look pooty? Oh, grin, and be d--d to you, do!
But if I had you this side o' that gratin,' I'd just make it lively
for you.

How did I get in here? Well what 'ud you give to know?
'Twasn't by sneakin' round where I hadn't no call to go;
'Twasn't by hangin' round a-spyin' unfortnet men.
Grin! but I'll stop your jaw if ever you do that agen.

Why don't you say suthin, blast you? Speak your mind if you dare.
Ain't I a bad lot, sonny? Say it, and call it square.
Hain't got no tongue, hey, hev ye? Oh, guard! here's a little swell
A cussin' and swearin' and yellin', and bribin' me not to tell.

There! I thought that 'ud fetch ye! And you want to know my name?
'Seventy-nine' they call me, but that is their little game;
For I'm werry highly connected, as a gent, sir, can understand,
And my family hold their heads up with the very furst in the land.

For 'twas all, sir, a put-up job on a pore young man like me;
And the jury was bribed a puppos, and at furst they couldn't agree;
And I sed to the judge, sez I,--Oh, grin! it's all right, my son!
But you're a werry lively young pup, and you ain't to be played upon!

Wot's that you got?--tobacco? I'm cussed but I thought 'twas a tract.
Thank ye! A chap t'other day--now, lookee, this is a fact--
Slings me a tract on the evils o' keepin' bad company,
As if all the saints was howlin' to stay here along o' we.

No, I hain't no complaints. Stop, yes; do you see that chap,--
Him standin' over there, a-hidin' his eyes in his cap?
Well, that man's stumick is weak, and he can't stand the pris'n fare;
For the coffee is just half beans, and the sugar it ain't nowhere.

Perhaps it's his bringin' up; but he's sickenin' day by day,
And he doesn't take no food, and I'm seein' him waste away.
And it isn't the thing to see; for, whatever he's been and done,
Starvation isn't the plan as he's to be saved upon.

For he cannot rough it like me; and he hasn't the stamps, I guess,
To buy him his extry grub outside o' the pris'n mess.
And perhaps if a gent like you, with whom I've been sorter free,
Would--thank you! But, say! look here! Oh, blast it! don't give it
to ME!

Don't you give it to me; now, don't ye, don't ye, DON'T!
You think it's a put-up job; so I'll thank ye, sir, if you won't.
But hand him the stamps yourself: why, he isn't even my pal;
And, if it's a comfort to you, why, I don't intend that he shall.

by Francis Bret Harte.

Abba Thule's Lament For His Son Prince Le Boo

I climb the highest cliff; I hear the sound
Of dashing waves; I gaze intent around;
I mark the gray cope, and the hollowness
Of heaven, and the great sun, that comes to bless
The isles again; but my long-straining eye,
No speck, no shadow can, far off, descry,
That I might weep tears of delight, and say,
It is the bark that bore my child away!
Sun, that returnest bright, beneath whose eye
The worlds unknown, and out-stretched waters lie,
Dost thou behold him now! On some rude shore,
Around whose crags the cheerless billows roar,
Watching the unwearied surges doth he stand,
And think upon his father's distant land!
Or has his heart forgot, so far away,
These native woods, these rocks, and torrents gray,
The tall bananas whispering to the breeze,
The shores, the sound of these encircling seas,
Heard from his infant days, and the piled heap
Of holy stones, where his forefathers sleep!
Ah, me! till sunk by sorrow, I shall dwell
With them forgetful in the narrow cell,
Never shall time from my fond heart efface
His image; oft his shadow I shall trace
Upon the glimmering waters, when on high
The white moon wanders through the cloudless sky.
Oft in my silent cave, when to its fire
From the night's rushing tempest we retire,
I shall behold his form, his aspect bland;
I shall retrace his footsteps on the sand;
And, when the hollow-sounding surges swell,
Still think I listen to his echoing shell.
Would I had perished ere that hapless day,
When the tall vessel, in its trim array,
First rushed upon the sounding surge, and bore
My age's comfort from this sheltering shore!
I saw it spread its white wings to the wind,
Too soon it left these hills and woods behind,
Gazing, its course I followed till mine eye
No longer could its distant track descry;
Till on the confines of the billows hoar
A while it hung, and then was seen no more,
And only the blue hollow cope I spied,
And the long waste of waters tossing wide.
More mournful then each falling surge I heard,
Then dropt the stagnant tear upon my beard.
Methought the wild waves said, amidst their roar
At midnight, Thou shalt see thy son no more!
Now thrice twelve moons through the mid heavens have rolled
And many a dawn, and slow night, have I told:
And still as every weary day goes by,
A knot recording on my line I tie;
But never more, emerging from the main,
I see the stranger's bark approach again.
Has the fell storm o'erwhelmed him! Has its sweep
Buried the bounding vessel in the deep!
Is he cast bleeding on some desert plain!
Upon his father did he call in vain!
Have pitiless and bloody tribes defiled
The cold limbs of my brave, my beauteous child!
Oh! I shall never, never hear his voice;
The spring-time shall return, the isles rejoice,
But faint and weary I shall meet the morn,
And 'mid the cheering sunshine droop forlorn!
The joyous conch sounds in the high wood loud,
O'er all the beach now stream the busy crowd;
Fresh breezes stir the waving plantain grove;
The fisher carols in the winding cove;
And light canoes along the lucid tide
With painted shells and sparkling paddles glide.
I linger on the desert rock alone,
Heartless, and cry for thee, my son, my son.

by William Lisle Bowles.

The Widow To Her Son’s Betrothed

I.

AH, cease to plead with that sweet cheerful voice,
Nor bid me struggle with a weight of woe,
Lest from the very tone that says 'rejoice'
A double bitterness of grief should grow;
Those words from THEE convey no gladdening thought,
No sound of comfort lingers in their tone,
But by their means a haunting shade is brought
Of love and happiness for ever gone!
II.

My son!--alas, hast thou forgotten him,
That thou art full of hopeful plans again?
His heart is cold--his joyous eyes are dim,--
For him THE FUTURE is a word in vain!
He never more the welcome hours may share,
Nor bid Love's sunshine cheer our lonely home,--
How hast thou conquer'd all the long despair
Born of that sentence--He is in the tomb?
III.

How can thy hand with cheerful fondness press
The hands of friends who still on earth may stay--
Remembering his most passionate caress
When the LONG PARTING summon'd him away?
How can'st thou keep from bitter weeping, while
Strange voices tell thee thou art brightly fair--
Remembering how he loved thy playful smile,
Kiss'd thy smooth cheek, and praised thy burnish'd hair?
IV.

How can'st thou laugh? How can'st thou warble songs?
How can'st thou lightly tread the meadow-fields,
Praising the freshness which to spring belongs,
And the sweet incense which the hedge-flower yields?
Does not the many-blossom'd spring recal
Our pleasant walks through cowslip-spangled meads,--
The violet-scented lanes--the warm south-wall,
Where early flow'rets rear'd their welcome heads?
V.

Does not remembrance darken on thy brow
When the wild rose a richer fragrance flings--
When the caressing breezes lift the bough,
And the sweet thrush more passionately sings;--
Dost thou not, then, lament for him whose form
Was ever near thee, full of earnest grace?
Does not the sudden darkness of the storm
Seem luridly to fall on Nature's face?
VI.

It does to ME! The murmuring summer breeze,
Which thou dost turn thy glowing cheek to meet,
For me sweeps desolately through the trees,
And moans a dying requiem at my feet!
The glistening river which in beauty glides,
Sparkling and blue with morn's triumphant light,
All lonely flows, or in its bosom hides
A broken image lost to human sight!
VII.

But THOU!--Ah! turn thee not in grief away;
I do not wish thy soul as sadly wrung--
I know the freedom of thy spirit's play,
I know thy bounding heart is fresh and young:
I know corroding Time will slowly break
The links which bound most fondly and most fast,
And Hope will be Youth's comforter, and make
The long bright Future overweigh the Past.
VIII.

Only, when full of tears I raise mine eyes
And meet thine ever full of smiling light,
I feel as though thy vanish'd sympathies
Were buried in HIS grave, where all is night;
And when beside our lonely hearth I sit,
And thy light laugh comes echoing to my ear,
I wonder how the waste of mirth and wit
Hath still the power thy widow'd heart to cheer!
IX.

Bear with me yet! Mine is a harsh complaint!
And thy youth's innocent lightheartedness
Should rather soothe me when my spirits faint
Than seem to mock my age's lone distress.
But oh! the tide of grief is swelling high,
And if so soon forgetfulness must be--
If, for the DEAD, thou hast no further sigh,
Weep for his Mother!--Weep, young Bride, for ME!

by Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton.

Gyved and chained in his father's home,
He toiled 'neath a conqueror's rule;
Bowed to the earth in the land of his birth;
The Slave who was Son of a Fool.

Poor remnant he of a conquered race,
Long shorn of its power and pride,
No reverence shone in his sullen face
When they told how that race had died.
But the meed that he gave to his father's name
Was a down-drooped head and a flush of shame.

Burned in his brain was the pitiful tale
Of a sabre too late unsheathed;
Deep in his heart lay the poisoned dart
Of the shame that his sire bequeathed:
The searing shame of a laggard life,
Of an arm too weak in the hour of strife.

Oh, the Fool had reigned full many a year
In the Land of the Bounteous Gifts,
Dreaming and drifting, with never a fear,
As a doomed fool pleasantly drifts;
And he ate his fill of the gifts she gave
The Fool who was sire of a hopeless Slave.

Through years of plenty and years of peace
he lolled in the pleasing shade,
Marking his flocks and his herds increase,
Watching his waxing trade;
And he smiled when he heard of the old world's wars,
With never a care for his own rich stores.

Year by year as his harvest grew,
He gleaned with a lightsome heart;
His barns he filled, and he sowed and tilled,
Trading in port and mart.
Proud of his prowess in psort and trade
Was the Fool, who scoffed at an alien raid.

Little he recked of the gathering cloud
That boded a swift disgrace.
Was he not seed of a manly breed,
Proud son of a warlike race?
And he told of the deeds that his sires had done
While he wielded a bat in the place of a gun.

Small were his fears in the rich fat years,
Loud was his laugh of scorn
When they whispered low of a watching foe,
Greedy for gold and corn;
A foe grown jealous of trade an pow'r,
Marking the teasure, and waiting the hour.

'Twas a cheerful Fool, but a Fool foredoomed
Gazed out on a clear spring morn;
And his eye ranged wide o'er the countryside,
With its treasures, its kine and corn.
And, 'Mine, all mine!' said the prosperous Fool.
'And it never shall pass to an alien rule!'

And, e'en when the smoke of the raiders' ships
Trailed out o'er the northern skies,
His laugh was loud: ''Tis a summer cloud,'
Said the Fool in his Paradise.
And, to guard his honor, he gave a gun
To the feeble hands of his younger son.

Oh, a startled Fool, and a Fool in haste
Awoke on a later day,
When they sped the word that a foe laid waste
His ports by the smiling bay,
And his voice was shrill as he bade his sons
Haste out to the sound of the booming guns.

He was brave, they tell, as a fool is brave,
With an oath 'tween his hard-clenched teeth,
When he found the sword that he fain would wave
Held fast in its rusty sheath;
When he learned that the hand, so skilled in play,
Was the hand of a child that fatal day.

And scarce had he raised his rallying cry,
Scarce had he called one note,
When he died, as ever a foo must die,
With his war-song still in his throat.
And an open ditch was the hasty grave
Of the Fool who fathered a hopeless Slave.

They point the moral, they tell the tale,
And the old world wags its head:
'If a Fool hath treasure, and Might prevail,
Then the Fool must die,' 'tis said.
And the end of it all is a broken gun
And the heritage gleaned by a hapless son.

Gyved and chained in his father's home,
He toiled 'neath a conqueror's rule;
While they flung in his face the taunt of his race:
A Slave and the Son of a Fool.

by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis.

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