Bill's Prayer

I never thought that Bill could say
A proper prayer;
'Twas more in his hard-bitten way
To cuss and swear;
Yet came the night when Baby Ted
Was bitter ill,
I tip-toed to his tiny bed,
And there was Bill.

Aye, down upon his bended knees
I heard him cry:
"O God, don't take my kiddy, please!
Don't let him die!"
Then softly so he would not see,
I shrank away:
He would have been so shamed for me
To see him pray.

Men-folk are queer: Bill acts up tough,
Yet how it's odd,
When things are looking downright rough
He tunes to God.
"The Parson and the Priest be darned!"
I've heard him say:
Yet when his baby is concerned
He's quick to pray.

Maybe it's gentle parent-hood
That gives us grace,
And in its sacrificial mood
Uplifts the race.
Of sentiment, all self above,
That goodness sums
I think the saving best is Love
For little ones.

by Robert William Service

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