WHICH shall it be? which shall it be?"
I looked at John—John looked at me
(Dear patient John, who loves me yet
As well as tho my locks were jet);
And when I found that I must speak,
My voice seemed strangely low and weak:
"Tell me again what Robert said"
And then I, list'ning, bent my head.
"This is his letter:
'I will give
A house and land while you shall live,
If, in return, from out your seven
One child to me for aye is given.'"
I looked at John's old garments worn,
I thought of all that John had borne
Of poverty and work and care,
Which I, though willing, could not share;
I thought of seven mouths to feed,
Of seven little children's need,
And then of this.
"Come, John," said I,
"We ll choose among them as they lie