I’ll lend you for a little while a child of mine, God said,
For you to love the while he lives, and mourn for when he’s dead.
It may be six or seven years, or forty two or three,
But will you, ’til I call him back, take care of him for me?
He’ll bring his charms to gladden you. And should his stay be brief,
You’ll always have your memories as solace in your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught below I want this child to learn.
I’ve looked this whole world over in my search for teachers true,
And from the folk that crowd life’s lane, I have chosen you.
Now will you give him all your love and not think the labour vain,
Nor hate me when I come to take this lent child back again.
I fancy that I heard them say, ‘Dear God Thy will be done’,
For all the joys this child will bring, the risk of grief we’ll run.
We will shelter him with tenderness, we’ll love him while we may,
And for all the happiness we’ve ever known, we’ll ever grateful stay.
But should the angels call him much sooner than we’d planned,
We will brace the bitter grief that comes and try to understand.