"I'll lend you for a little time a child of mine" he said,
For you to love him while he lives and mourn for when he's dead.
I 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 solace for your grief.
I cannot promise 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 in my search for teachers true,
And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes, I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love, not think the labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call to take him back again.
I fancied that I heard him say, "Dear Lord, thy will be done."
For all the joy the 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 angels call for him much sooner than we've planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes, and try to understand.