Fifes and Drums/To the Mothers

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Mothers of men, do you not know
What you gave to the world in your hour of woe?
Born of courage, and doomed to stress,
A man for the tasks of men—no less!

Mothers of women, can you not feel
What all the signs of your life reveal?
You have brought forth love, with its sword and fire,
And love's high crown is the lost desire.

Mothers of men, have you not known
That the soul of the child is not your own?
If God has sealed him for palm and cross,
To hold him close were your bitter loss.
Mothers, mothers, will you not see
All that your gift to the world may be?
These who must fight a wrong abhorred
Are Michael's angels, who bear the sword.

Mothers of men, then loose your hold!
Love grants more than your arms enfold;
Under the Cross you stand apart,
With Mary's sword in your dauntless heart.

Marion Couthouy Smith.