Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
VII. Death: Immortality: Heaven
Sarah Chauncey Woolsey (Susan Coolidge) (1835–1905)
IF I were told that I must die to-morrow,
            That the next sun
Which sinks should bear me past all fear and sorrow
            For any one,
All the fight fought, all the short journey through,        5
            What should I do?
I do not think that I should shrink or falter,
            But just go on,
Doing my work, nor change nor seek to alter
            Aught that is gone;        10
But rise and move and love and smile and pray
            For one more day.
And, lying down at night for a last sleeping,
            Say in that ear
Which hearkens ever: “Lord, within thy keeping        15
            How should I fear?
And when to-morrow brings thee nearer still,
            Do thou thy will.”
I might not sleep for awe; but peaceful, tender,
            My soul would lie        20
All the night long; and when the morning splendor
            Flushed o’er the sky,
I think that I could smile—could calmly say,
            “It is his day.”
But if a wondrous hand from the blue yonder        25
            Held out a scroll,
On which my life was writ, and I with wonder
            Beheld unroll
To a long century’s end its mystic clew,
            What should I do?        30
What could I do, O blessèd Guide and Master,
            Other than this;
Still to go on as now, not slower, faster,
            Nor fear to miss
The road, although so very long it be,        35
            While led by thee?
Step after step, feeling thee close beside me,
            Although unseen,
Through thorns, through flowers, whether the tempest hide thee,
            Or heavens serene,        40
Assured thy faithfulness cannot betray,
            Thy love decay.
I may not know; my God, no hand revealeth
            Thy counsels wise;
Along the path a deepening shadow stealeth,        45
            No voice replies
To all my questioning thought, the time to tell;
            And it is well.
Let me keep on, abiding and unfearing
            Thy will always,        50
Through a long century’s ripening fruition
            Or a short day’s;
Thou canst not come too soon; and I can wait
            If thou come late.

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