Jenifer's Love

A poem by Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

Small is my secret--let it pass--
Small in your life the share I had,
Who sat beside you in the class,
Awed by the bright superior lad:
Whom yet with hot and eager face
I prompted when he missed his place.

For you the call came swift and soon:
But sometimes in your holidays
You meet me trudging home at noon
To dinner through the dusty ways,
And recognized, and with a nod
Passed on, but never guessed--thank God!

Truly our ways were separate.
I bent myself to hoe and drill,

Yea, with an honest man to mate,
Fulfilling God Almighty's will;
And bore him children. But my prayers
Were yours--and, only after, theirs.

While you--still loftier, more remote,
You sprang from stair to stair of fame,
And you've a riband on your coat,
And you've a title to your name;
But have you yet a star to shine
Above your bed, as I o'er mine?

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