Lines For A Child Lent By God

Little Child

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by Edgar Guest

I'll lend you for a little while 
A child of mine, He said, 
For you to love the while he lives, 
And mourn when he is 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 shall his stay be brief, 
You'll have his lovely memories 
For solace in 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 over 
In my search for teachers true, 
And from the throng that crowd life's loves 
I have selected you. 

Now will you give him all your love, 
Nor think the 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 thy children 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. 

And shall the angels call for him 
Much sooner than we've planned, 
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes, 
And try to understand.