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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889


By May Riley Smith (1842?–1927)

[Born in Brighton, Monroe Co., N. Y., 1842. Died, 1927. A Gift of Gentians, and Other Verses. 1882.]

SOMETIME, when all life’s lessons have been learned,

And sun and stars forevermore have set,

The things which our weak judgments here have spurned,

The things o’er which we grieved with lashes wet,

Will flash before us, out of life’s dark night,

As stars shine most in deeper tints of blue;

And we shall see how all God’s plans are right,

And how what seemed reproof was love most true.

And we shall see how, while we frown and sigh,

God’s plan goes on as best for you and me;

How, when we called, He heeded not our cry,

Because his wisdom to the end could see.

And even as wise parents disallow

Too much of sweet to craving babyhood,

So God, perhaps, is keeping from us now

Life’s sweetest things, because it seemeth good.

And if, sometimes, commingled with life’s wine,

We find the wormwood, and rebel and shrink,

Be sure a wiser hand than yours or mine

Pours out this potion for our lips to drink.

And if some friend we love is lying low,

Where human kisses cannot reach his face,

O, do not blame the loving Father so,

But wear your sorrow with obedient grace!

And you shall shortly know that lengthened breath

Is not the sweetest gift God sends his friend.

And that, sometimes, the sable pall of death

Conceals the fairest boon his love can send.

If we could push ajar the gates of life,

And stand within and all God’s workings see,

We could interpret all this doubt and strife,

And for each mystery could find a key!

But not to-day. Then be content, poor heart!

God’s plans like lilies pure and white unfold.

We must not tear the close-shut leaves apart,

Time will reveal the calyxes of gold.

And if, through patient toil, we reach the land

Where tired feet, with sandals loose, may rest,

When we shall clearly see and understand,

I think that we will say “God knew the best!”