The Boy Soldier

Each evening on my lap there climbs
    A little boy of three,
And with his dimpled, chubby fists
    He pounds me shamefully.
He gives my beard a vicious tug,
    He bravely pulls my nose;
And then he tussles with my hair
    And then explores my clothes.

He throws my pencils on the floor
    My watch is his delight;
He never seems to think that I
    Have any private right.
And though he breaks my good cigars,
    With all his cunning art,
He works a greater ruin, far,
    Deep down within my heart.

This roguish little tyke who sits
    Each night upon my knee,
And hammers at his poor old dad,
    Is bound to conquer me.
He little knows that long ago,
    He forced the gates apart,
And marched triumphantly into
    The city of my heart.

Some day perhaps, in years to come,
    When he is older grown,
He, too, will be assailed as I,
    By youngsters of his own.
And when at last a little lad
    Gives battle on his knee,
I know that he'll be captured, too,
    Just as he captured me.