J. Thomas Gordon left home one day,
Left home for good and all-
A boy has a right to have his own way
When he's nearly six foot tall;
At least, this is what J. Thomas thought,
And in his own young eyes
There were very few people quite so good,
And fewer still quite so wise.
What! tie as clever a lad as he
Down to commonplace toil?
Make J. Thomas Gordon a farmer lad,
A simple son of the soil?
Not if he knew it-'twould be a sin;
He wished to rise and soar.
For men like himself who would do and dare
Dame Fortune had much in store.
The world was in need of brains and brawn,
J. Thomas said modestly,
The clever young man was in great demand-
They would see what they would see.
He would make his mark in the busy world,
Some day the daily press
Would herald the glad news forth to the throng,
J. Thomas is a SUCCESS.
Then would the doubters and sceptics all
Say, with regret sincere,
'To think that we gave his hopes and his aims
But an unbelieving sneer!'
As for him, he would kiss his mother,
And give her wealth galore,
Shake the hand of his father-maybe-
Then back to the world once more.
With big ambition and high conceit
Was young J. Thomas filled;
The warning of friends and their arguments
His eloquence quickly stilled.
'You may go,' said the irate father,
'I'll not urge you to stay;
You will learn your lesson, you headstrong fool,
Be glad to come back some day.'
So J. Thomas Gordon left the farm,
As boys have done before,
And his mother began to count the hours
Till he would be home once more.
The father wearied as time went on-
Missed the boy from his side;
But all through the years the fond mother kept
Her love, her hope, and her pride.
With a mother's beautiful faith, she said:
'I know my boy will come
So wealthy, so honored, noble and great,
Proudly come marching home.'
And ever she looked at eventide
Into the glowing west
For the dust of the carriage bringing her
The one that she loved the best.
Ah! how she longed to look on his face,
Her stalwart lad and true,
With his sunburned cheek, and his ruddy hair,
And his eyes so bright and blue.
To those who said 'twas cruel of him
Never a line to send,
She had but one answer, with eyes ashine:
'It will all come right in the end;
He's busy making a name and place,
And I must patient be
Till this clever, ambitious lad of mine
Finds time to come back to me.'
Important and wealthy and famous,
Honored and wise and great!
But look you, who can that ragged tramp be,
Down there by the garden gate,
Pale as if hunger had pressed him sore,
Trembling because so weak,
Pushed on by his longing, held back by shame-
A tear on his poor pale cheek?
'Tis he! Had he come back rich and great
She'd have met him at the door,
But she's down the path with her arms outspread,
Because he has come back poor.
Gone, gone are her day-dreams sweet and fair-
Gone in the swift glad shock
Of folding a ragged tramp in her arms,
But love stands firm as a rock.
She rang the dinner bell long and loud,
The father came with speed;
The welcome he gave the prodigal
Was a tender one indeed.
'The young fool has learned his lesson,'
J. Thomas whispered low.
'So he has-God bless him!' the father cried,
'He'll make a good man, I know.
'Honest, unselfish, and true as steel,
Our boy will stand the test;
Kindly of thought and word and deed-
The homely virtues are best.
I knew when you went, and you know it now,
That all this pride and style,
This yearnin' to fill up the public eye,
Isn't really worth the while.'
Oh, the happy face of the mother
That night as, kneeling low,
Tom said the prayer that he used to say
At her knee so long ago.
A new J. Thomas had this to add-
With his bonnie blue eyes wet-
'Thank God for the home, for the faithful hearts
That never change or forget.'
Though far and wide on the world's rough sea
The children, reckless, roam,
The boldest thanks God in some stress of storm
For the harbor lights of home.