Ah, there he stands! With wondering face Old men surround the boy;
The solemn looks, the awful place Bestill the mother's joy.
In sweet reproach her gladness hid, Her trembling voice says--low, Less like the chiding than the chid-- "How couldst thou leave us so?"
But will her dear heart understand The answer that he gives--
Childlike, eternal, simple, grand, The law by which he lives?
"Why sought ye me?" Ah, mother dear, The gulf already opes
That will in thee keep live the fear, And part thee from thy hopes!
"My father's business--that ye know I cannot choose but do."
Mother, if he that work forego, Not long he cares for you.
Creation's harder, better part Now occupies his hand:
I marvel not the mother's heart Not yet could understand.