James Whitcomb Riley (7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)
A strange life--strangely passed!
We may not read the soul
When God has folded up the scroll
In death at last.
We may not--dare not say of one
Whose task of life as well was done
As he could do it,--'This is lost,
And prayers may never pay the cost.'
Who listens to the song
That sings within the breast,
Should ever hear the good expressed
Above the wrong.
And he who leans an eager ear
To catch the discord, he will hear
The echoes of his own weak heart
Beat out the most discordant part.
Whose tender heart could build
Affection's bower above
A heart where baby nests of love
Were ever filled,--
With upward growth may reach and twine
About the children, grown divine,
That once were his a time so brief
His very joy was more than grief.
O Sorrow--'Peace, be still!'
God reads the riddle right;
And we who grope in constant night
But serve His will;
And when sometime the doubt is gone,
And darkness blossoms into dawn,--
'God keeps the good,' we then will say:
' 'Tis but the dross He throws away.'
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