Here I lean over you, small son, sleeping Warm in my arms, And I con to my heart all your dew-fresh charms, As you lie close, close in my hungry hold . . . Your hair like a miser's dream of gold, And the white rose of your face far fairer, Finer, and rarer Than all the flowers in the young year's keeping; Over lips half parted your low breath creeping Is sweeter than violets in April grasses; Though your eyes are fast shut I can see their blue, Splendid and soft as starshine in heaven, With all the joyance and wisdom given From the many souls who have stanchly striven Through the dead years to be strong and true.
Those fine little feet in my worn hands holden . . . Where will they tread ? Valleys of shadow or heights dawn-red? And those silken fingers, O, wee, white son, What valorous deeds shall by them be done In the future that yet so distant is seeming To my fond dreaming? What words all so musical and golden With starry truth and poesy olden
Shall those lips speak in the years on-coming? O, child of mine, with waxen brow, Surely your words of that dim to-morrow Rapture and power and grace must borrow From the poignant love and holy sorrow Of the heart that shrines and cradles you now!
Some bitter day you will love another, To her will bear Love-gifts and woo her . . . then must I share You and your tenderness! Now you are mine From your feet to your hair so golden and fine, And your crumpled finger-tips . . . mine completely, Wholly and sweetly; Mine with kisses deep to smother, No one so near to you now as your mother! Others may hear your words of beauty, But your precious silence is mine alone; Here in my arms I have enrolled you, Away from the grasping world I fold you, Flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone!