The houseful that we were then, you could count us by the dozens,
The wonder was that sometimes the old walls wouldn't burst:
Herself (the Lord be good to her!), the aunts and rafts of cousins,
The young folks and the children,--but Himself came first.
Master of the House he was, and well for them that knew it:
His cheeks like winter apples and his head like snow;
Eyes as blue as water when the sun of March shines through it.
And steppin' like a soldier with his stick held so.
Faith, but he could tell a tale would serve a man for wages,
Sing a song would put the joy of dancin' in two sticks;
But Saints between themselves and harm that saw him in his rages,
Blazin' and oratin' over chess and politics.
Master of the House he was, and that beyond all sayin',
Eh, the times I've heard him exhortin' from his chair
The like of any Bishop, yet snappin' off his prayin'
To put the curse on Phelan's dog for howlin' in the prayer.
The times I've seen him walkin' out like Solomon in glory,
Salutin' with great elegance the gentry he might meet;
An eye for every pretty girl, an ear for every story,
And takin' as his just deserts the middle of the street.
Master of the House, with much to love and be forgiven,--
Yet, thinkin' of Himself to-day--Himself--I see him go
With that old light step of his, across the Courts of Heaven,
His hat a little sideways and his stick held so.