When he was only nine months old,
And plump and round and pink of cheek,
A joy to tickle and to hold,
Before he’d even learned to speak,
His gentle mother used to say:
‘It is too bad that he must grow.
If I could only have my way
His baby ways we’d always know.’
And then the year was turned, and he
Began to toddle round the floor
And name the things that he could see
And soil the dresses that he wore.
Then many a night she whispered low:
‘Our baby now is such a joy
I hate to think that he must grow
To be a wild and heedless boy.’
But on he went and sweeter grew,
And then his mother, I recall,
Wished she could keep him always two,
For that’s the finest age of all.
She thought the selfsame thing at three,
And now that he is four, she sighs
To think he cannot always be
The youngster with the laughing eyes.
Oh, little boy, my wish is not
Always to keep you four years old.
Each night I stand beside your cot
And think of what the years may hold;
And looking down on you I pray
That when we’ve lost our baby small,
The mother of our man will say
‘This is the finest age of all.’