LIFE is a privilege.  Its youthful days

Shine with the radiance of continuous Mays.

To live, to breathe, to wonder and desire,

To feed with dreams the heart's perpetual fire ;

To thrill with virtuous passions and to glow

With great ambitions--in one hour to know

The depths and heights of feeling--God ! in truth,

How beautiful, how beautiful is youth !

Life is a privilege.  Like some rare rose

The mysteries of the human mind unclose.

What marvels lie in earth, and air, and sea !

What stores of knowledge wait our opening key !

What sunny roads of happiness lead out

Beyond the realms of indolence and doubt !

And what large pleasures smile upon and bless

The busy avenues of usefulness !

Life is a privilege.  Though noontide fades

And shadows fall along the winding glades,

Though joy-blooms wither in the autumn air,

Yet the sweet scent of sympathy is there.

Pale sorrow leads us closer to our kind,

And in the serious hours of life we find

Depths in the soul of men which lend new worth

And majesty to this brief span of earth.

Life is a privilege.  If some sad fate

Sends us alone to seek the exit gate,

If men forsake us as the shadows fall,

Still does the supreme privilege of all

Come in that reaching upward of the soul

To find the welcoming Presence at the goal,

And in the Knowledge that our feet have trod

Paths that lead from and must lead back to, God.

The Cosmopolitan 31.1 (May 1901): 64.

Courtesy of John M. Freiermuth.

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