When I see, beside the way,
The little urchin there at play,
With a patch on either knee,
What is it that impresses me?
Memory of a mother dear,
Laid long since upon her bier,
Who, when I was young and small,
Darned and mended for us all.
Patiently, with thread and thimble,
Eyes yet clear and fingers nimble,
While we nestled close in bed,
Through the patch the needle sped.
Hence the patch so comely, neat,
On little trousers knee or seat,
Speaks to me of comfort near,
Of a home and mother dear.
New clothes fit and trim may be
Worn by urchins whom we see;
Rags may flutter on the street,
Shoeless boys or shod may meet;
Still to us no sign they give,
Save that poor or rich they live,
Boys who wear the neat patch prove
A mother's care, a mother's love.