Because I was a woman lone
And had of friends so few,
I made two little ones my own,
Whose parents no one knew;
Unwanted foundlings of the night,
Left at the convent door,
Whose tiny hands in piteous plight
Seemed to implore.
By Deed to them I gave my name,
And never will they know
That from the evil slums they came,
Two waifs of want and woe;
I fostered them with love and care
As if they were my own:
Now John, my son, is tall and fair,
And dark is Joan.
My boy's a member of the Bar,
My girl a nurse serene;
Yet when I think of what they are
And what they might have been,
With shuddering I glimpse a hell
Of black and bitter fruit . . .
Where John might be a criminal,
And Joan--a prostitute.
Robert William Service