To a Very Young Gentleman

My child, what painful vistas are before you!
What years of youthful ills and pangs and bumps —
Indignities from aunts who " just adore " you,
And chicken-pox and measles, croup and mumps!
I don't wish to dismay you, — it's not fair to,
Promoted now from bassinet to crib, —
But, O my babe, what troubles flesh is heir to
Since God first made so free with Adam's rib!

Laboriously you will proceed with teething;
When teeth are here, you'll meet the dentist's chair;
They'll teach you ways of walking, eating, breathing,
That stoves are hot, and how to brush your hair;
And so, my poor, undaunted little stripling,
By bruises, tears, and trousers you will grow,
And, borrowing a leaf from Mr. Kipling,
I'll wish you luck, and moralise you so:

If you can think up seven thousand methods
Of giving cooks and parents heart disease;
Can rifle pantry-shelves, and then give death odds
By water, fire, and falling out of trees;
If you can fill your every boyish minute
With sixty seconds' worth of mischief done,
Yours is the house and everything that's in it,
And, which is more, you'll be your father's son!
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