"I'll lend you for a little while
A child of mine," God said,
"For you to have 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 'till I call him back
Take care of him for me?
He'll bring his charms to gladden you
And, should his stay be brief,
You'll have his lovely memories
As a solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay,
Since all from earth return;
But there are 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 land,
I have chosen you.
Now, will you give him all your love
Nor think the labor vain?
Nor hate me when I come to take
This lent child back again?"
I fancied that I heard them say:
"Dear Lord, Thy will be done.
For all the joys Thy child will bring
The risk of grief we'll run.
We'll shower him with tenderness,
We'll love him while we may.
And for the happiness we've known
Forever grateful stay.
But should Thy angel call for him
Much sooner than we've planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes
And try to understand."