Page:All quiet along the Potomac and other poems.djvu/89

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83
WHICH SHALL IT BE?


Asleep." So, walking hand in hand,
Dear John and I surveyed our band.

First to the cradle lightly stepped
Where the new nameless baby slept.
"Shall it be Baby?" whispered John.
I took his hand and hurried on
To Lily s crib. Her sleeping grasp
Held her old doll within its clasp,
Her damp curls laid like gold alight,
A glory 'gainst the pillow white.
Softly her father stooped to lay
His rough hand down in loving way,
When dream or whisper made her stir,—
Then, huskily, said John, "Not her! not her!"

We stooped beside the trundle-bed,
And one long ray of lamplight shed
Athwart the boyish faces there,
In sleep so pitiful and fair;
I saw on Jamie's rough red cheek
A tear undried. Ere John could speak,
"He's but a baby too," said I,
And kissed him as we hurried by.
Pale, patient Robbie s angel face
Still in his sleep bore suffering's trace.
"No, for a thousand crowns, not him!"
We whispered, while our eyes were dim.
Poor Dick! bad Dick! our wayward son,
Turbulent, reckless, idle one—