I knew him for a gentleman by signs that never fail.
His coat was rough and rather worn,
His cheeks were thin and pale-
A lad who had his way to make
With little time to play.
I knew him for a gentleman by certain signs today.
He met his mother on the street; off came his little cap.
My door was shut; he waited there until I heard his rap.
He took the bundle from my hand, and when I dropped my pen
He sprang to pick it up for me,
This gentlman of ten.
He does not push or crowd along;
His voice is gently pitched;
He does not fling his books about
As if he were bewitched.
He stands aside to let you pass;
He always shuts the door;
He runs on errands willingy,
To forge and mill and store.
He thinks of you before himself;
He serves you if he can,
For in whatever company,
The manners make a man.
At ten or forty 'tis the same-
The manner tells the tale;
And I discern the gentleman
By signs that never fail