"Her lot is on you" — woman's lot she meant,
The singer who sang sweetly long ago;
And rose and yew and tender myrtle blent,
To crown the harp that rang to love and woe.
Awake, O poetess, and vow one strain
To sing of motherhood, its joy, its pain.
What does it give to us, this mother love —
In verse and tale and legend glorified,
Chosen by lips divine as type above
All other passions? Men have lived and died
For sisters, maiden queens, and cherished wives,
Yet, sealed by God, the one chief love survives.
Yet what is it it gives us? Shrinking dread,
Peril, and pain, and agony forgot,
Because we hold the ray of gladness shed,
By the first cry from lips that know us not,
Worth all that has been paid, is yet to pay,
For the new worship, born and crowned that day.
Then nursing, teaching, training, self-denial,
That never knows itself, so deep it lies,
The eager taking up of every trial,
To smooth Spring's pathway, light her April skies;
Watching and guiding, loving, longing, praying,
No coldness daunting, and no wrong dismaying.
And when the lovely bud to blossom wakes,
And when the soft shy dawn-star flashes bright,
Another hand the perfect flower takes,
Another wins the gladness of the light;
A sweet, soft, clinging, fond farewell is given;
Still a farewell, and then alone with Heaven.
With Heaven! Will he take the tired heart,
The God who gave the child and formed the mother,
Who sees her strive to play her destined part,
And, smiling, yield her darling to another?
Ay, on his cross he thought of Mary's woe;
He pities still the mothers left below.