Be sorry for the boys a bit,
And mothers, guard your girls.

What are they doing while you knit?
Can they among the throngs be found
That daily haunt the camping ground,
With skirts that hardly hide the knees,
With hanging braids and curls,
And ways that tantalise and tease
The tiger that lies in the lair
Of each man's heart?

                                        Oh, mothers, spare
Yourselves a life-long grief and shame,
And face this fact:

Bold innocence oft makes a pact
With knowing evil, by its act;
And men should not bear all the blame
Of sins that follow.
Of all it means, your daughters dare
And challenge men to give full rein
To passions which they would restrain.

Be sorry for the boys a bit.
All duty is not just to knit!

Lay down the sweater and the sock
And with your daughters sweetly talk.
Tell them the things they need to know:
Guard what they do, and where they go:
Let down their skirts an inch or so;
Restrain their riant curls
Before like butterflies they flit
To dazzle soldiers' eyes.
Safeguard their innocence and youth
By telling them life's sacred TRUTH.
Oh, help them to be wise.

Poems of affection. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
London: Gay & Hancock, 1920.

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