Fugitive Verses
Popular Reprinted Poetry from Nineteenth Century Newspapers

If I Should Die To-night

Source of witness transcribed: The Western Reserve Chronicle (Warren, Ohio)

Date of witness transcribed: 9 July 1873

Notes about this poem: "If I Should Die To-night" was printed in at least 217 newspapers during the nineteenth century. It can be found using ID 297880 in this table of most widely-reprinted poems.


  • If I should die to-night,
  • My friends would look upon my quiet face,
  • Before they laid it in its resting place,
  • And deem that death had left it almost fair;
  • And, laying snow white flowers against my hair,
  • Would smooth it down with tearful tenderness,
  • And fold my hands with lingering caress,
  • Poor hands, so empty and so cold to-night!

  • If I should die to-night,
  • My friends would call to mind, with loving thought.
  • Some kindly deed the icy hand had wrought;
  • Some gentle word the frozen lips had said;
  • Errands on which the willing feet had sped,
  • The memory of my selfishness and pride,
  • My hasty words, would all be put aside,
  • And so I should be loved and mourned to-night.

  • If I should die to-night,
  • Even hearts enstranged would turn once more to me,
  • Recalling other days remorsefully;
  • The eyes that chill me with averted glance
  • Would look upon me as of yore, perchance,
  • And soften in the old, familiar way,
  • For who could war with dumb, unconscious clay?
  • So I might rest, forgiven of all, to-night.

  • Oh, friends, I pray to-night,
  • Keep not your kisses for my dead, cold brow,
  • The way is lonely, let me feel them now,
  • Think gently of me; I am travel worn;
  • My faltering feet are pierced with many a thorn,
  • Forgive, oh, hearts estranged, I plead!
  • When dreamless rest is mine I shall not need
  • The tenderness for which I long to-night.

B.S., in Christian Union.