Ah me! How hard is destiny! If we could only know. . . . I bought my son from Sicily A score of years ago; I haled him from our sunny vale To streets of din and squalor, And left it to professors pale To make of him a scholar.
Had he remained a peasant lad, A shepherd on the hill, like golden faun in goatskin clad He might be singing still; He would have made the flock his care And lept with gay reliance On thymy heights, unwitting there Was such a thing as science.
He would have crooned to his guitar, Draughts of chianti drinking; A better destiny by far Than reading, writing, thinking. So bent above his books was he, His thirst for knowledge slaking, He did not realize that we Are worm-food in the making.
Ambition got him in its grip And inched him to his doom; Fate granted him a fellowship, Then graved for him a tomb. "Beneath my feet I can't allow The grass to grow," he said; And toiled so tirelessly that now It grows above his head.
His honour scrolls shall feed the flame, They mean no more to me; His ashes I with bitter blame Will take to Sicily. And there I'll weep with heart bereft, By groves and sunny rills, And wish my laughing boy I'd left A shepherd on the hills.