The Three Sons

by John Moultrie

John Moultrie

I have a son, a little son, a boy just five years old,
With eyes of thoughtful earnestness, and mind of gentle mould.
They tell me that unusual grace in all his ways appears,
That my child is grave and wise of heart beyond his childish years.
I cannot say how this may be, I know his face is fair,
And yet his chiefest comeliness is his sweet and serious air:
I know his heart is kind and fond, I know he loveth me,
But loveth yet his mother more with grateful fervency:
But that which others most admire, is the thought which fills his mind,
The food for grave enquiring speech he every where doth find.
Strange questions doth he ask of me, when we together walk;
He scarcely thinks as children think, or talks as children talk.
Nor cares he much for childish sports, dotes not on bat or ball,
But looks on manhood's ways and works, and aptly mimicks all.
His little heart is busy still, and oftentimes perplext
With thoughts about this world of ours, and thoughts about the next,
He kneels at his dear mother's knee, she teacheth him to pray,
And strange, and sweet, and solemn then are the words which he will say.
Oh, should my gentle child be spared to manhood's years like me,
A holier and a wiser man I trust that he will be:
And when I look into his eyes, and stroke his thoughtful brow,
I dare not think what I should feel were I to lose him now.
I have a son, a second son, a simple child of three;
I'll not declare how bright and fair his little features be,
How silver sweet those tones of his when he prattles on my knee:
I do not think his light blue eye is, like his brother's, keen,
Nor his brow so full of childish thought as his hath ever been;
But his little heart's a fountain pure of kind and tender feeling,
And his every look's a gleam of light, rich depths of love revealing.
When he walks with me, the country folk, who pass us in the street,
Will shout for joy, and bless my boy, he looks so mild and sweet.
A playfcllow is he to all, and yet, with cheerful tone,
Will sing his little song of love, when left to sport alone.
His presence is like sunshine sent to gladden home and hearth,
To comfort us in all our griefs, and sweeten all our mirth.
Should he grow up to riper years, God grant his heart may prove
As sweet a home for heavenly grace as now for earthly love:
And if, beside his grave, the tears our aching eyes must dim,
God comfort us for all the love which we shall lose in him.
I have a son, a third sweet son; his age I cannot tell,
For they reckon not by years and months where he is gone to dwell.
To us, for fourteen anxious months, his infant smiles were given,
And then he bade farewell to Earth, and went to live in Heaven.
I cannot tell what form is his, what looks he weareth now,
Nor guess how bright a glory crowns his shining seraph brow.
The thoughts that fill his sinless soul, the bliss which he doth feel,
Are number'd with the secret things which God will not reveal.
But I know (for God bath told me this) that he is now at rest,
Where other blessed infants be, on their Saviour's loving breast.
I know his spirit feels no more this weary load of flesh,
But his sleep is bless'd with endless dreams of joy f or ever fresh.
I know the angels fold him close beneath their glittering wings,
And soothe him with a song that breathes of Heaven's divinest things.
I know that we shall meet our babe, (his mother dear and I,)
Where God for aye shall wipe away all tears from every eye.
Whate'er befalls his brethren twain, his bliss can never cease;
Their lot may here be grief and fear, but his is certain peace.
It may be that the tempter's wiles their souls from bliss may sever,
But, if our own poor faith fail not, he must be ours for ever.
When we think of what our darling is, and what we still must be,--
When we muse on that world's perfect bliss, and this world's misery,--
When we groan beneath this load of sin, and feel this grief and pain,--
Oh! we'd rather lose our other two, than have him here again.

Last updated January 14, 2019