To All Parents
Edgar A. Guest
I'll lend you for a little time a child of mine, He said,
for you to love the while she lives and mourn for when she's dead.
It may be six or seven 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 shall 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 teachers 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 labour vain,
nor hate me when I come to call to take her back again?
I fancied that I heard them say:
Dear Lord, thy will be done!
For all the joy thy child shall bring, the risk of grief we'll run.
We'll shelter her with tenderness,
we'll love her while we may,
and for the happiness we've known, forever grateful stay;
but shall the angels call for her much sooner than we've planned,
we'll brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand.