The Devonshire Mother

The King have called the Devon lads and they be answering fine —
But shadows seem to bide this way, for all the sun do shine,
For there's Squire's son have gone for one, and Parson's son — and mine.

I mind the day mine went from me — the skies was all aglow —
The cows deep in our little lane was comin' home so slow —
" And don't ee never grieve yourself, " he said, " because I go. "

His arms were strong around me, then. He turned and went away —
I heard the little childer dear a-singin' at their play,
The meanin' of an aching heart is hid from such as they.
And scarce a day goes by but now I set my door ajar,
And watch the road that Jan went up the time he went to war,
That when he'll come again to me I'll see him from afar.

And in my chimney seat o' nights, when quiet grows the farm,
I pray the Lord he be not cold whiles I have fire to warm —
And give the mothers humble hearts whose boys are kept from harm.

And then I take the Book and read before I seek my rest,
Of how that other Son went forth (them parts I like the best),
And left His mother lone for Him she'd cuddled to her breast.

I like to think when nights were dark and Him at prayer maybe,
Upon the gurt dark mountain side, or in His boat at sea,
He worried just a bit for her, who'd learnt Him at her knee.

And maybe when He minds her ways, He will not let Jan fall —
I'm thinkin' He will know my boy, with his dear ways an' all —
With his tanned face, his eyes of blue, and he so strappin' tall.
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