I would that you should know,
Dear mother, that I love you -- love you so!
That I remember other days and years;
Remember childish joys and childish fears.
And this, because my baby's little hand
Opened my own heart's door and made me understand.
I wonder how you could
Be always kind and good!
So quick to hear; to tend
My smallest ills; to lend
Such sympathising ears
Swifter than ancient seer's.
I never yet knew hands so soft and kind,
Nor any cheek so smooth, nor any mind
So full of tender thoughts. . . . Dear mother, now
I think that I can guess a little how
You must have looked for some response, some sign,
That all my tiresome wayward heart was thine.
And sure it was! You were my first dear love!
You who first pointed me to God above;
You who seemed hearkening to my lightest word,
And in the dark night seasons always heard
When I came trembling, knocking at your door.
Forgive me, mother, if my whims outwore
Your patient heart. Or if in later days
I sought out foolish unfamiliar ways;
If ever, mother dear, I loosed my hold
Of your loved hand; or, headstrong, thought you cold,
Forgive me, mother! Oh, forgive me, dear!
I am come back at last -- you see me here,
Your loving child. . . . And, mother, on my knee
I pray that thus my child may think of me!