If I Should Die Tonight

By Belle E. Smith

If I should die tonight,
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 dress
Would smooth it down with fearful tenderness,
And fold my hands with lingering caress –
Poor hands, so empty and so cold tonight!

If I should die tonight,
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 tonight.

If I should die tonight,
Even hearts estranged would turn once more to me.
Recalling other days remorseful;
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, tonight.

O, friends, I pray tonight,
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 tonight

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