The Boy I Love by J. T. Trowbridge

My boy, do you know the boy I love?
I fancy I see him now;
His forehead bare in the sweet spring air,
With the wind of hope in his waving hair,
The sunrise on his brow.

He is something near your height, may be;
And just about your years;
Timid as you; but his will is strong,
And his love of right and his hate of wrong
Are mightier than his fears.

He has the courage of simple truth.
The trial that he must bear,
The peril, the ghost that frights him most,
He faces boldly, and like a ghost
It vanishes in air.

As wildfowl take, by river and lake,
The sunshine and the rain.
With cheerful, constant hardihood
He meets the bad luck and the good,
The pleasure and the pain.

Come friends in need? With heart and deed
He gives himself to them.
He has the grace which reverence lends,–
Reverence, the crowning flower that bends
The upright lily-stem.

Though deep end strong his sense of wrong,
Fiery his blood and young,
His spirit is gentle, his heart is great,
He is swift to pardon and slow to hate;
And master of his tongue.

Fond of his sports? No merrier lad's
Sweet laughter ever rang!
But he is so generous and so frank,
His wildest wit or his maddest prank
Can never cause a pang.

His own sweet ease, all things that please,
He loves, like any boy;
But fosters a prudent fortitude;
Nor will he squander a future good
To buy a fleeting joy.

Face brown or fair? I little care,
Whatever the hue may be,
Or whether his eyes are dark or light;
If his tongue be true and his honor bright,
He is still the boy for me.

Where does he dwell? I cannot tell;
Nor do I know his name.
Or poor, or rich? I don't mind which;
Or learning Latin, or digging ditch;
I love him all the same.

With high, brave heart perform your part,
Be noble and kind as he,
Then, some fair morning, when you pass,
Fresh from glad dreams, before your glass,
His likeness you may see.

You are puzzled? What! you think there is not
A boy like him,–surmise
That he is only a bright ideal?
But you have power to make him real,
And clothe him to our eyes.

You have rightly guessed: in each pure breast
Is his abiding-place.
Then let your own true life portray
His beauty, and blossom day by day
With something of his grace.