Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906 / Ohio / United States)
If Death should claim me for her own to-day,
And softly I should falter from your side,
Oh, tell me, loved one, would my memory stay,
And would my image in your heart abide?
Or should I be as some forgotten dream,
That lives its little space, then fades entire?
Should Time send o'er you its relentless stream,
To cool your heart, and quench for aye love's fire?
I would not for the world, love, give you pain,
Or ever compass what would cause you grief;
And, oh, how well I know that tears are vain!
But love is sweet, my dear, and life is brief;
So if some day before you I should go
Beyond the sound and sight of song and sea,
'T would give my spirit stronger wings to know
That you remembered still and wept for me.
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