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James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916)


    I CRAVE, dear Lord,
        No boundless hoard
        Of gold and gear,
            Nor jewels fine,
            Nor lands, nor kine,
    Nor treasure-heaps of anything.—
            Let but a little hut be mine
        Where at the hearthstore I may hear
                The cricket sing,
            And have the shine
        Of one glad woman's eyes to make,
        For my poor sake,
            Our simple home a place divine;—
    Just the wee cot—the cricket's chirr—
    Love, and the smiling face of her.

    I pray not for
    Great riches, nor
        For vast estates, and castle-halls,—
        Give me to hear the bare footfalls
            Of children o'er
            An oaken floor,
        New-risen with sunshine, or bespread
        With but the tiny coverlet
        And pillow for the baby's head;
    And pray Thou, may
    The door stand open and the day
        Send ever in a gentle breeze,
        With fragrance from the locust-trees,
            And drowsy moan of doves, and blur
        Of robin-chirps, and drove of bees,
            With afterhushes of the stir
        Of intermingling sounds, and then
            The good-wife and the smile of her
        Filling the silences again—
                The cricket's call,
                    And the wee cot,
                Dear Lord of all,
                    Deny me not!

        I pray not that
        Men tremble at
            My power of place
                And lordly sway,—
        I only pray for simple grace
        To look my neighbor in the face
            Full honestly from day to day—
        Yield me this horny palm to hold,
                And I'll not pray
                    For gold;—
    The tanned face, garlanded with mirth,
    It hath the kingliest smile on earth—
    The swart brow, diamonded with sweat,
    Hath never need of coronet.
                    And so I reach,
                        Dear Lord, to Thee,
                    And do beseech
                        Thou givest me
    The wee cot, and the cricket's chirr,
    Love, and the glad sweet face of her!


The above poem can be found in:
  • Riley, James Whitcomb. Riley Love-Lyrics. Indianapolis, IN: The Bowen-Merrill Company, 1899.