Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
1139. Ike Walton’s Prayer
 
By James Whitcomb Riley
 
 
I CRAVE, dear Lord,
No boundless hoard
  Of gold and gear,
    Nor jewels fine,
    Nor lands, nor kine,        5
Nor treasure-heaps of anything.—
    Let but a little hut be mine
Where at the hearthstone I may hear
    The cricket sing,
    And have the shine        10
  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.        15
 
    I pray not for
    Great riches, nor
For vast estates and castle-halls:—
Give me to hear the bare footfalls
    Of children o’er        20
    An oaken floor
New-rinsed with sunshine, or bespread
With but the tiny coverlet
And pillow for the baby’s head;
And, pray Thou, may        25
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 drone of bees,        30
      With after-hushes of the stir
    Of intermingling sounds, and then
      The goodwife and the smile of her
    Filling the silences again—
        The cricket’s call        35
          And the wee cot,
        Dear Lord of all,
          Deny me not!
 
    I pray not that
    Men tremble at        40
      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—        45
    Yield me his horny palm to hold,
        And I ’ll not pray
          For gold:—
The tanned face, garlanded with mirth,
It hath the kingliest smile on earth;        50
The swart brow, diamonded with sweat,
Hath never need of coronet.
          And so I reach,
            Dear Lord, to Thee,
          And do beseech        55
            Thou givest me
The wee cot, and the cricket’s chirr,
Love, and the glad sweet face of her.
 

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