Little Mothers of Men to Be

WHETHER you frolic with comrade boys,
Or sit at your studies or play with toys;
Whatever your station or place or sphere,
For just one purpose God sent you here;
And always and ever you are to me
Dear little Mothers of Men to be.

So would I guard you from all mean things;
From the dwarfing of wealth and from poverty's stings;
And from silly mothers of fuss and show
And from dissolute fathers whose aims are low
I would take you and shield you and set you free,
Dear little Mothers of Men to be.

And then were the wish of my heart fulfilled,
Around about you the world should build
A wall of Wisdom, with Truth for its Tower,
Where mind and body would wax in power
Till the tender twig was a splendid tree,
Dear little Mothers of Men to be.

It is only a dream; but the world grows wise,
And a mighty truth in the dream seed lies
That shall gladden the earth in its time and place:
We must better the mothers to better the race!

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ladies' Home Journal 29 (Oct. 1912): 3.

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