A Child Loaned, by Edgar 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 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 this wide world over
In my search for teachers true.
And from the throngs that crowd life's lane,
I have selected you.

"Now, will you give her all your love,
And not think the labor vain?
Nor hate me when I come to call
And 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 know,
Forever grateful stay.

"But should the angels call for her
Much sooner than we planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes
And try to understand."

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