“Willie” by George Pope Morris
by Ann Neilson
This is a touching rhyme by Morris, probably about his son, William H. Morris.
George Pope Morris
I clasp your hand in mine, Willie,
And fancy I’ve the art
To see, while gazing in your face,
What’s passing in your heart:
‘T is joy an honest man to hold,
That gem of modest worth,
More prized than all the sordid gold
Of all the mines of earth, Willie,
Of all the mines of earth.
I’ve marked your love of right, Willie,
Your proud disdain of wrong;
I know you’d rather aid the weak
Than battle for the strong.
The golden rule—religion’s stay—
With constancy pursue,
Which renders others all that they
On earth can render you, Willie,
On earth can render you.
A conscious void of guile, Willie,
A disposition kind,
A nature, gentle and sincere,
Accomplished and refined:
A mind that was not formed to bow,
An aspiration high,
Are written on your manly brow,
And in your cheerful eye, Willie,
And in your cheerful eye.
I never look at you, Willie,
But with an anxious prayer
That you will ever be to me
What now I know you are.
I do not find a fault to chide,
A foible to annoy,
For you are all your father’s pride,
And all your mother’s joy, Willie,
And all your mother’s joy.
You’re all that I could hope, Willie,
And more than I deserve;
Your pressure of affection now
I feel in every nerve.
I love you—not for station—land—
But for yourself alone:
And this is why I clasp your hand,
So fondly in my own, Willie,
So fondly in my own.