Spartan Mother

My mother loved her horses and
Her hounds of pedigree;
She did not kiss the baby hand
I held to her in glee.
Of course I had a sweet nou-nou
Who tended me with care,
And mother reined her nag to view
Me with a critic air.

So I went to a famous school,
But holidays were short;
My mother thought me just a fool,
Unfit for games and sport.
For I was fond of books and art,
And hated hound and steed:
Said Mother, 'Boy, you break my heart!
You are not of our breed.'

Then came the War. The Mater said:
'Thank God, a son I give
To King and Country,'--well, I'm dead
Who would have loved to live.
'For England's sake,' said she, 'he died.
For that my boy I bore.'
And now she talks of me with pride.
A hero of the War.

Mother, I think that you are glad
I ended up that way.
Your horses and your dogs you had,
And still you have today.
Your only child you say you gave
Your Country to defend . . .
Dear Mother, from a hero's grave
I--curse you in the end.

by Robert William Service

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