Dedications to Two Godsons


Small Friend, when your infatuate sire
Conferred on you the name of John,
And to myself expressed desire
That skyward I should lead you on;
How little did he know of me —
Of you, my godkin, even less —
But we conspirators must be
And hide up our unworthiness.

Together we will tread the way
That leads to mansions in the sky,
Or, if we don't, at least we'll say
We surely mean to, by and by.
And while we stay on solid earth
And still postpone our holy ends,
We'll inch by inch increase our girth,
And be, I hope, the best of friends.


Small John, I fear when you grow up you'll say:
" They gave to me as pilot to the sky
A silly man who didn't know the way,
And couldn't put me wise — I wonder why?
He never gave me book morocco-bound
Or silver cup with christening date engraved;
He let me wander round and round and round,
And quite neglected for to get me saved! "

Well, little John, I freely do confess
That I'm no guide towards the better Land,
But, if in this, our earthly wilderness,
You falter, and should need a helping hand —
Then here it is, perhaps not over-clean,
And dabbled rather deep in ink and that —
But willing; and at all events, I mean
You shall have nothing else to wonder at.
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