James Nack

Jan 4, 1809 - 1879


My Boy

by James Nack

My boy! my boy! what hopes and fears
Are prophets of thy future years!
How many smiles -- how many tears
Shall glisten o'er this face!
This eye, so innocently bright,
May kindle with a wilder light,
In pleasure's maddening chase:
This brow, where quiet fancies lie,
May proudly lift itself on high,
In fierce ambition's race;
This form, so beautiful, so blithe,
May waste in sickness, or may writhe
In agony's embrace;
This cheek may lose its healthful blush,
For sorrow's languor, passion's flush,
Or thought's corrosive trace; --
But of all evils that may come,
My prayer the most would shield thee from
The guilty or the base.
Thy heritage is but my name;
Then prize its purity of fame,
And shield it from disgrace;
And if that name have some renown,
May it be thine a brighter crown
Upon it yet to place!
For should a prouder wreath be thine
Than ever was or shall be mine,
The more will be my joy --
The vanity of fame I've found;
Still could I wish its laurels crowned,
My boy! my only boy!

And yet, should genius never roll
Its inspiration on thy soul,
Nor gift thee with the might
To image such creations forth
As crown the Minstrel of the North, [Walter Scott]
Imperishably bright;
Or with a Shakspeare's muse of fire
Up to the highest heaven aspire,
The sun of every sight --
If science shall not in thy mind
Unfold a beacon to mankind,
Amid the mental night;
Or if thy arm shall never wield
A hero's sword, on conquest's field,
To guard thy country's right --
If all the glorious hopes be vain
That often float athwart my brain
In visions of delight
Still thou as fully canst complete
The hope -- of all most dear and sweet
That may my mind employ
All other wreaths I can resign,
So virtue's trophies may be thine,
My boy! my only boy!


The Romance Of The Ring, And Other Poems.
Copyright 1859
Delisser & Procter, 508 Broadway, New York