Robert William Service (16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)
Mumsie and Dad are raven dark
And I am lily blonde.
''Tis strange,' I once heard nurse remark,
'You do not correspond.'
And yet they claim me as their own,
Born of their flesh and bone.
To doubt their parenthood I dread,
But now to girlhood grown,
The thought is haunting in my head
That I am not their own:
If so, my radiant bloom of youth
Would wither in the truth.
'Twould give me anguish deep to know
A fondling babe was I;
And that a maid in wedless woe
Left me to live or die:
I'd rather Mother lied and lied
To save my pride.
I love them both and they love me;
I am their all, they say.
Yet though the sweetest home have we,
To know I'm theirs I pray.
If not, please dear ones, never tell . . .
The truth would be of hell.
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