The Eighth Sin/To Jessie Willcox Smith
TO (In gratitude for her illustrations of A Child's Garden of Verses.)
He would have said, with radiant face,
"Dear Lady, in some fairy place
Some garden where (without a nurse)
They played their shadowy games in verse,
You must have met my bairns alone
And smiled, and took them for your own.
"They were more ragged then, perhaps,
They did not know the joy of laps,
A very lonely life they led
They never had been tucked in bed.
In spite of all their merry laughter
They badly needed looking after!
"These children of my wistful dreams
The magic of your brush now seems
To bring to life—I recognise
The golden heads, the dark brown eyes,
The dainty frocks, the slin bare legs
And all that love-of-children begs.
"The bairns art yours as much as mine
And so to you I now resign
A half of all that fund of glee
That they have always brought to me.
But on one thing they will insist—
They never sleep till they've been kissed!
P.S.—I note with grateful joy
You've made the oldest one a boy!"
Such words as these, but with more grace,
He would have said.