Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
IX. The Sadness of It
‘If I should die to-night’
By Arabella E. Smith
IF I should die to-night,
My friends would look upon my quiet face
Before they laid it in its resting-place,
And deem that death had left it almost fair;
And, laying snow-white flowers against my hair,        5
Would smooth it down with tearful tenderness,
And fold my hands with lingering caress,—
Poor hands, so empty and so cold to-night!
                If I should die to-night,
My friends would call to mind, with loving thought,        10
Some kindly deed the icy hands had wrought;
Some gentle word the frozen lips had said;
Errands on which the willing feet had sped.
The memory of my selfishness and pride,
My hasty words, would all be put aside,        15
And so I should be loved and mourned to-night.
                If I should die to-night,
Even hearts estranged would turn once more to me,
Recalling other days remorsefully;
The eyes that chill me with averted glance        20
Would look upon me as of yore, perchance,
And soften in the old familiar way;
For who could war with dumb unconscious clay?
So I might rest, forgiven of all, to-night.
                Oh, friends, I pray to-night        25
Keep not your kisses for my dead, cold brow—
The way is lonely, let me feel them now.
Think gently of me; I am travel-worn;
My faltering feet are pierced with many a thorn.
Forgive, oh, hearts estranged, forgive, I plead!        30
When dreamless rest is mine I shall not need
The tenderness for which I long to-night.

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