If This Were All

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If this were all of life we'll know,
 If this brief space of breath
Were all there is to human toil,
 If death were really death,
And never should the soul arise
 A finer world to see,
How foolish would our struggles seem,
 How grim the earth would be!

If living were the whole of life,
 To end in seventy years,
How pitiful its joys would seem!
 How idle all its tears!
There'd be no faith to keep us true,
 No hope to keep us strong,
And only fools would cherish dreams-
 No smile would last for long.

How purposeless the strife would be
 If there were nothing more,
If there were not a plan to serve,
 An end to struggle for!
No reason for a mortal's birth
 Except to have him die-
How silly all the goals would seem
 For which men bravely try.

There must be something after death;
 Behind the toil of man
There must exist a God divine
 Who's working out a plan;
And this brief journey that we know
 As life must really be
The gateway to a finer world
 That some day we shall see.

© Edgar Albert Guest