Spartan Mother

by Robert W. Service

My mother loved her horses and Her hounds of pedigree; She did not kiss the baby hand I held to her in glee. Of course I had a sweet nou-nou Who tended me with care, And mother reined her nag to view Me with a critic air. So I went to a famous school, But holidays were short; My mother thought me just a fool, Unfit for games and sport. For I was fond of books and art, And hated hound and steed: Said Mother, 'Boy, you break my heart! You are not of our breed.' Then came the War. The Mater said: 'Thank God, a son I give To King and Country,'--well, I'm dead Who would have loved to live. 'For England's sake,' said she, 'he died. For that my boy I bore.' And now she talks of me with pride. A hero of the War. Mother, I think that you are glad I ended up that way. Your horses and your dogs you had, And still you have today. Your only child you say you gave Your Country to defend . . . Dear Mother, from a hero's grave I--curse you in the end.