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“What Father Takes”

From Ailenroc鈥檚 Book, by Cornelia Alexander

They drew around the festal board,
Where hearts beat high with mirth and joy,
And bubbles danced on beaker鈥檚 brim鈥
鈥楾was fairyland to that fair boy.

Old age was there, and manhood鈥檚 prime,
And smiling beauty fresh and fair,
Who bowed to toasts of flashing eyes,
To smiling lips and flowing hair.

鈥淲hat will you take?鈥 the waiter asked,
And paused to hear the youth鈥檚 reply,
Who, all unused to such gay scenes,
Upon his father turns his eye;

And as the waiter smiling stands,
His sweet, young voice the silence breaks
In flutelike music on the air:
鈥淚鈥檒l take whatever father takes.鈥

A thrill ran through the father鈥檚 heart,
A thrill of pain, and yet of joy.
He saw a way to guide the feet
Of his bright, trusting boy.

A nobler look grew on his brow,
Even as the ruby wine went by.
鈥淲aiter,鈥 he said, 鈥渂ring water pure
For this my boy and I.鈥

O, fathers, will you stop and think,
Lest some day your sad heart should break
Because a son has gone to ruin
From taking what he saw his father take?

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