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I’ll lend you a child for a little while,

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 can not promise she will stay

since mine from earth returned,

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 labor 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 wi’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.

By Edgar Guest