"I'll lend you for a little while,
a child of mine" God said,
"for you to love the while she lives,
and mourn for when she's dead.

It may be two or three short years,
or twenty-two or three,
but will you, till I call her back,
take care of her for me?

She'll bring her charms to gladden you,
and should her stay be brief,
you'll have her lovely memories
as solace for your grief.

I cannot promise she will stay,
since all from earth return,
but there are lessons taught down there
I want this child to learn.

I've looked the wide world over
in my search for teacher's true,
and from the throngs that crowd life's lanes,
I have selected you.

Now will you give her all your love?
Nor think the labor vain?
Nor hate me when I come to call,
to take her back again?"

God fancied he heard the parent's say,
"Dear Lord, thy will be done.
For all the joy the child shall bring,
the risk of grief I'll run.

I'll shelter her with tenderness,
I'll love her while I may,
and for the happiness I've known
forever grateful I'll stay.

But should the angels call for her,
much sooner than I planned,
I'll brave the bitter grief that comes,
and try to understand."

By Edgar Guest
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