I don't know either the name of this poem or the name of its author.
I don't even know if the poem is accurately presented here. It was
given to me by my grandfather, when I was a child, and contained what appeared
to be transcription errors. I've attempted to restore the poem to
what I hope to be a correct version.
My grandfather's name was Sam Aurelius Milam. The name of his
son, my father, was Sam Aurelius Milam, Jr. I am Sam Aurelius Milam
III. I will never have a son.
You got it from your father,
'Twas the most that he could give,
And right gladly he bestowed it,
It is yours the while you live.
You may lose the watch he gave you,
And another you may claim,
But remember, when you're tempted,
To be careful of his name.
It was fair the day you got it,
And a worthy name to wear.
When he took it from his father
There was no dishonor there.
Through the years he proudly wore it.
To his father he was true.
And the name was clean and spotless
When he passed it on to you.
Oh, there's much that he has given
That he values not at all.
He has watched you break your playthings,
In the days when you were small,
And you've lost the knife he gave you,
And you've scattered many a game,
But you'll never hurt your father,
If you're careful of his name.
It is yours to wear forever;
Yours to wear the while you live,
Yours, perhaps, some distance morning,
To another man to give.
And you'll smile, as did your father,
Smile, above the baby there,
If a clean name and a good name,
You are giving him to wear.