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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Arabella (Belle) Eugenie Smith (1844–1916)

If I Should Die To-night

IF I should die to-night,

My friends would look upon my quiet face

Before they laid it in its resting-place,

And deem that death had left it almost fair;

And laying snow-white flowers against my hair,

Would smooth it down with tearful tenderness,

And fold my hands with lingering caress—

Poor hands, so empty and so cold to-night!

If I should die to-night,

My friends would call to mind, with loving thought,

Some kindly deed the icy hands had wrought;

Some gentle word the frozen lips had said;

Errands on which the willing feet had sped:

The memory of my selfishness and pride,

My hasty words, would all be put aside,

And so I should be loved and mourned to-night.

If I should die to-night,

Even hearts estranged would turn once more to me,

Recalling other days remorsefully;

The eyes that chill me with averted glance

Would look upon me as of yore, perchance,

And soften in the old familiar way:

For who could war with dumb, unconscious clay?

So I might rest, forgiven of all, to-night.

O friends, I pray to-night,

Keep not your kisses for my dead, cold brow!

The way is lonely: let me feel them now.

Think gently of me: I am travel-worn;

My faltering feet are pierced with many a thorn.

Forgive, O hearts estranged, forgive, I plead!

When dreamless rest is mine, I shall not need

The tenderness for which I long to-night.