Poem Hunter
Don'T Tell Mother
(25 April 1854 – 3 November 1926 / Ontario)

Don'T Tell Mother

I thing I'm dying, Tom, old boy; I'm all broke up

to-night ;

I feel so sick at heart I wish I 'd never see the light ;
For I 've done wrong, yes, very wrong ; I 've thrown

myself aw r ay
Oh ! if the old folks heard it, Tom, I wonder what

they 'd say !

For when I left for Winnipeg my dear old mother said,
' My boy, do always what is right and never be afraid ;
Don't drink, my boy, and keep away from those who

do what 's wrong ;
And every hour, I '11 pray to God to keep you brave

and strong.'

So if I die to-night, my boy, keep constant by my side,
And never, never, never, Tom, tell mother how I died.

Oh, Tom ; I so remember well the morn I came away ;
The air was full of singing birds and sweet with scented

And through the rustling apple trees the wind came

soft and slow,
And by my side stood mother, dear Oh ! Tom she

loved me so ;
Her poor old hands held mine, dear Tom, her eyes were

full of tears,
And in her dear old loving heart there bubbled mystic

fears ;

For, Tom, you must remember I was her only son
Oh ! God forgive me for the pain I 've caused that

suffering one !

Oh, give me water, quick ! dear Tom, and stay here by

my side,
And if I die to-night, do n't tell my mother how I died.

I kissed her lips and promised her I 'd try and do so

Oh ! curse the words that from my lips that summer

morning fell !
For in my heart the serpent lay, for, hear me, Tom,

just think

I swore upon my bended knees I 'd never, never drink,
And then I held her to my heart, and felt her blessing

And as I darted through the gate I heard my mother

My boy ! my boy ! my only one ! my son, come back to

But I could never more come back ah ! that can never


For when I said I 'd never drink the angel knew I lied ;
But if I die to-night, dear Tom, do n't tell her how I


I came and did my best, old boy, but I was weak and

And every day the serpent's folds were 'round my

reason coiled ;
I tried to break the hideous bonds and choose a better

But I was feverish, weak and faint, and now I sob,

'Too late!'
Too late! too late! Oh, God! too late! I heard my

mother moan,
And in my breast to-night, old boy, my heart lies like a


Come nearer, nearer, nearer, Tom, stay closer to my

And promise, Tom, you '11 never tell my mother how I


Oh, keep your word, old boy, if you her poor old life

would save ;
The truth would bring her old gray hair in sorrow to

the grave ;

Oh, let her die and think that I was ever true and good,
And that I always did the best, the very best I could
I see her face, I feel her hand my burning brow upon ;
I hear her whisper in my ear, and now, O God ! she 's

gone !

I cannot see now, dear Tom, come nearer to my side,
And as the God above 's your judge, don't tell her how

I died.

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