by Parker Nichols (1912) The Child! What will he become? A serious matter truly To a father of an only one, and perhaps, but not unduly, To one with children nine to ten, tho’ in cases such you say, Bright future’s visions loom obscure thro’ troubles of today. In a certain town a wise man dwelt, philosopher and sage, Who told your future, read your past, just then Society’s rage, Phrenology, Psychology! In those fertile fields of science – He wandered plucking golden fruit, and incidentally his clients. To him went a parent fond, took with him his son. Laid down a golden fee and said, ‘What may the child become?’ The man of mystery took the coin, spun it in the air – Bit it, put it in his vest, and motioned to a chair. He wandered round that youngster’s head, paused on a monstrous bump The father softly murmured - ‘The fender made that lump.’ The wise man frowned, made no reply, but started off anew, Till a piping voice said, ‘Daddy, must I have hair drill too?’ At last the sage was satisfied and in manner most concise, He took the parent on one side and gave him this advice:- ‘When even’s sun is setting low, an hour before the gloom, Place a bible and a sovereign and an apple in a room. Thither lead the child and leave him for an hour, To see which potent agent has proved of greater power. For if he eat the apple it is a certain sign, That comforts close at hand form his especial line. ‘Midst nature’s fruits he should be placed, coal, iron, corn or such. As miller, miner, farmer, smith he may accomplish much. Should he read the bible, a scholar he should be. Writer, teacher. poet, preacher, or Professor like me!’ But should he grasp the sovereign – beware, my friend, for then – He holds for weal or woe the power to rule his fellowmen. Financier or banker, buyer, seller he may be, Or money-lender, with interest running to Eternity. For each can be of evil use – the sovereign most of all.’ The Bible can be misapplied, and the apple caused our fall. Homeward went the parent – in the room he placed the youth With a sovereign and an apple and the Book that stands for Truth. And in an hour that simple child, when father took a look – Had eaten the apple, pocketed the gold and was seated on the book. And as the parent stood amazed, out spoke this precious kid. – ‘I’d like another apple pa, also another quid!’ The child – What did he become? How fared this noble youth? Who was filled with greed and avarice and who sat upon the truth. The world alas! Holds out rewards for such you must allow, What did the child become? Well – he’s a poor- law guardian – now!
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