I Shall Not Pass This Way Again

(1900) by Eva Rose York

I shall not pass this way again— Although it bordered be with flowers, Although I rest in fragrant bowers, And hear the singing Of song-birds winging To highest heaven their gladsome flight; Though moons are full and stars are bright, And winds and waves are softly sighing, While leafy trees make low replying; Though voices clear in joyous strain Repeat a jubilant refrain; Though rising suns their radiance throw On summer’s green and winter’s snow, In such rare splendor that my heart Would ache from scenes like these to part; Though beauties heighten, And life-lights brighten, And joys proceed from every pain,— I shall not pass this way again. Then let me pluck the flowers that blow, And let me listen as I go To music rare That fills the air; And let hereafter Songs and laughter Fill every pause along the way; And to my spirit let me say: “O soul, be happy; soon ’tis trod, The path made thus for thee by God. Be happy, thou, and bless His name By whom such marvellous beauty came.” And let no chance by me be lost To kindness show at any cost. I shall not pass this way again. Then let me now relieve some pain, Remove some barrier from the road, Or brighten someone’s heavy load; A helping hand to this one lend, Then turn some other to befriend. O God, forgive That I now live As if I might, sometime, return To bless the weary ones that yearn For help and comfort every day,— For there be such along the way. O God, forgive that I have seen The beauty only, have not been Awake to sorrow such as this; That I have drunk the cup of bliss Remembering not that those there be Who drink the dregs of misery. I love the beauty of the scene, Would roam again o’er fields so green; But since I may not, let me spend My strength for others to the end,— For those who tread on rock and stone, And bear their burdens all alone, Who loiter not in leafy bowers, Nor hear the birds nor pluck the flowers. A larger kindness give to me, A deeper love and sympathy; Then, O, one day May someone say— Remembering a lessened pain— “Would she could pass this way again.”