I'll lend you for a little time,
A child of mine He said,
For you to love while he lives,
and mourn when he is dead.

It may be one or seven years,
or twenty-two or three.
But will you till I call him back
take care of him for me?

He'll bring his charms to gladden you,
and shall his stay be brief,
You'll have his lovely memories
as solace for your grief.

I cannot promise he will stay,
since all from earth return.
But there are lessons taught down there
I want this child to learn.

I've looked the wide world over
in my search for teachers true,
And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes,
I have selected you.

Now will you give him all your love,
nor think the labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call
to take him back again?

I fancied that I heard them say,
Dear Lord, Thy will be done.
For all the joy thy child shall bring,
the risk of grief we'll run.

We'll shelter him with tenderness,
we'll love him while we may,
and for the happiness we've known,
will ever grateful stay.

But shall the angels call for him
much sooner than we planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes
and try to understand.