I must be fit for a child to play with,
Fit for a youngster to walk away with;
Fit for his trust and fit to be
Ready to take him upon my knee;
Whether I win or I lose my fight,
I must be fit for my boy at night.
I must be fit for a child to come to,
Speech there is that I must be dumb to;
I must be fit for his eyes to see,
He must find nothing of shame in me;
Whatever I make of myself, I must
Square to my boy's unfaltering trust.
I must be fit for a child to follow,
Scorning the places where loose men wallow;
Knowing how much he shall learn from me,
I must be fair as I'd have him be;
I must come home to him, day by day,
Clean as the morning I went away.
I must be fit for a child's glad greeting,
His are eyes that there is no cheating;
He must behold me in every test,
Not at my worst, but my very best;
He must be proud when my life is done
To have men know that he is my son.