Gentlest of critics, does your memory hold
(I know it does) a record of the days
When I, a schoolboy, earned your generous praise
For halting verse and stories crudely told?
Over these childish scrawls the years have rolled,
They might not know the world's unfriendly gaze;
But still your smile shines down familiar ways,
Touches my words and turns their dross to gold.
More dear to-day than in that vanished time
Comes your nigh praise to make me proud and strong.
In my poor notes you hear Love's splendid chime,
So unto you does this, my work belong.
Take, then, a little gift of fragile rhyme:
Your heart will change it to authentic song.