She folded up the worn and mended frock,
And smoothed it tenderly upon her knee,
Then through the soft web of a wee red sock
She wove the bright wool, musing thoughtfully:
'Can this be all? The outside world so fair,
I hunger for its green and pleasant ways;
A cripple prisoned in her restless chair
Looks from her window with a wistful gaze.
'The fruits I cannot reach are red and sweet,
The paths forbidden are both green and wide;
O God! there is no boon to helpless feet
So altogether sweet as paths denied.
Home is most fair; bright all my household fires,
And children are a gift without alloy;
But who would bound the field of their desires
By the prim hedges of mere fireside joy?
'I can but weave a faint thread to and fro,
Making a frail wolf in my baby's sock;
Into the world's sweet tumult I would go,
At its strong gates my trembling hand would knock.'
Just then the children came, the father too;
Their eager faces lit the twilight gloom;
'Dear heart,' he whispered, as he nearer drew,
'How sweet it is within this little room!
'God puts my strongest comfort here to draw
When thirst is great and common wells are dry.
Your pure desire is my unerring law,
Tell me, dear one, who is so safe as I?
Home is the pasture where my soul may feed,
This room a paradise has grown to be;
And only where these patient feet shall lead
Can it be home to these dear ones and me.'
He touched with reverend hand the helpless feet,
The children crowded close and kissed her hair.
'Our mother is so good, and kind, and sweet,
There's not another like her anywhere!'
The baby in her low bed opened wide
The soft blue flowers of her timid eyes,
And viewed the group about the cradle-side
With smiles of glad and innocent surprise.
The mother drew the baby to her knee,
And, smiling, said: 'The stars shine soft tonight;
My world is fair; its edges sweet to me,
And whatsoever is, dear Lord, is right.'