For the Children, from G. MacD.

by Elouise


George and Louisa MacDonald’s 11 Children, 1876

I love the way George MacDonald does a little back-door teaching by way of this poem. I left the language as he wrote it, though the content isn’t necessarily gender specific. In the photo above, George is sitting in the center, with Louisa standing directly behind him. The man just behind the oldest daughter (on the right end) is, I think, her husband.

Better Things

Better to smell the violet
Than sip the glowing wine;
Better to hearken to a brook
Than watch a diamond shine.

Better to have a loving friend
Than ten admiring foes;
Better a daisy’s earthy root
Than a gorgeous, dying rose.

Better to love in loneliness
Than bask in love all day;
Better the fountain in the heart
Than the fountain by the way.

Better be fed by mother’s hand
Than eat alone at will;
Better to trust in God, than say,
My goods my storehouse fill.

Better to be a little wise
Than in knowledge to abound;
Better to teach a child than toil
To fill perfection’s round.

Better to sit at some man’s feet
Than thrill a listening state;
Better suspect that thou art proud
Than be sure that thou art great.

Better to walk the realm unseen
Than watch the hour’s event;
Better the Well done, faithful slave!
Than the air with shouting rent.

Better to have a quiet grief
Than many turbulent joys;
Better to miss thy manhood’s aim
Than sacrifice the boy’s.

Better a death when work is done
Than earth’s most favoured birth;
Better a child in God’s great house
Than the king of all the earth.

From Poems, by George MacDonald
Published in 1857 by Longman, Brown, Green


We’re anticipating a visit from our daughter and son-in-law this coming week. I hope you enjoy Sabbath. I have a little Sabbath plan cooked up for myself. We’ll see how it works. Back to cleaning the house!

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 30 May 2015
Photo from For more about the children, click here.