Colonel’s Toast, The *

‘May the Lord love us and not call for us Too Soon’

Unto the little child whose happy heart
With dancing feet keeps merry time and tune,
When death comes, and the life-plan falls apart,
‘Too soon, ’ we cry; ‘Alas, too soon, too soon! ’

To youth, the dreamer, in whose vision lies
Life, one long splendid day of splendid June,
While Love, the great enchantress, veils his eyes,
Too soon the latest summons, all too soon.

Even to the heart grown old with years and care,
Whose song of life is set to saddest rune, -
Youth’s shinning curls, and age’s thin gray hair,
Alike the cry, ‘Too soon the call, too soon! ’

O Death! Thou truest friend of this sad earth,
Drawing our souls as draws the tides, the moon,
When shall we know thee, not as death but birth
To that new life, which may not be to soon?

We count the vacant chairs where used to sit
Dear friends with merry jest, and laugh, and tune,
Called hence, ah! question not the truth of it-
To us but not to them, ‘Too soon, too soon! ’

It must be that from some diviner sphere
Back-looking to earth’s morn and night and noon,
We yet shall say, ‘Our world was fair and dear,
But loving us God might not call too soon.’

* Written for the Bohemian Club.

by Ina D. Coolbrith

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