I'll lend you for a little while a child of mine He said.
For you to love the while he lives and mourn for when he's dead.
It may be six or seven years or twenty-two or three.
But will you til I call him back take care of him for me?
He'll bring you charm to gladden you and should his stay be brief,
You'll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise you he 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 search of teachers true,
And from the throngs that crowd life's lane I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love nor think you labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call to take him back again?
I fancied that I heard them say "Dear Lord, Thy Will be done;"
For all the joy this child shall bring the risk of grief we'll run.
We'll shelter him with tenderness, we'll love him while we may;
And for the happiness we've known, forever grateful stay.
But should the angel call for him much sooner than we planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand.
John Greenleaf Whittier