"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 one or two years, Or forty 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 the lessons taught below, I want this child to learn.
I've looked the whole world over, In search for teachers true;
And from the throngs that crowd Life's lane -- I have chosen you.
Will you give her all your love? Nor think the labor vain?
Not hate me when I come to take, This lent child back again?"
I fancied that I heard them say "Dear Lord, They will be done.
For the joys Thy child will bring, The risk of grief we'll run.
We will shelter her with tenderness, We'll love her while we may --
And for the happiness we've known, Forever grateful stay.
But should Thy angels call for her, Much sooner than we've planned,
We'll brave the grief that comes, And try to understand."