If I Should Die Tonight

Battle Monument to the 13th Infantry, Chickamauga Battle Field

If I Should Die Tonight

If I should die tonight
You earnestly ask me this
Would I leave without regret
Expecting future bliss?
Would I fear the journey dark,
O’er the shoreless sea of death?
How would I meet the Monarch Grim,
As I draw my dying breath?
I would regret to go,
To leave beloved ones fair,
Whom I have tried and know
Their love and friendship rare.
Whose constancy has cheered
Me, along life’s thorny way,
‘Twould cause me great regret,
To leave them, and go to stay.
But apart from that regret,
Which the breaking of these ties
Would cause my aching heart,
With anguish and surprise;
To hear death’s sentence passed
Upon my mortal strife,
Why should I fear to pass,
To the destiny of life?
For an host am I, who waits
The coming of this guest.
So certain as I am of life,
I shall hand him when I meet him,
My scepter and shall say,
“The same power that made me live,
Now makes you tenant of my clay.”
Certain am I that God
Hath made no snare for me,
By my faith in Him,
A bridge across the chasm I see.
My faith in nature’s wisdom,
Has always been supreme,
Nor preacher, priest, nor bigot,
Could make it other seem.
it is a clinging finger,
For the invisible hand to take,
And I serenely await my time.
For he makes no mistake,
If I should die tonight,
Like the withering of a fern,
With placid eyes I’d smile on Death
And say, Now It’s Your Turn.”

Civil War, Poem,

Souvenir Roster of the Surviving Members of the 13th Michigan Infantry: Also Short Account of the Forty-Fourth Annual Reunion, Together with Other Interesting Reading Matter for the Members : Kalamazoo, Michigan, February, 1909. Kalamazoo, Mich: Kalamazoo Pub. Co., printers, 1909.

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