It's Got To Be

A poem by James Whitcomb Riley

"When it's got to be," - like! always say,
As I notice the years whiz past,
And know each day is a yesterday,
When we size it up, at last, -
Same as I said when my boyhood went
And I knowed we had to quit, -
"It's got to be, and it's goin' to be!" -
So I said "Good-by" to it.

It's got to be, and it's goin' to be!
So at least I always try
To kind o' say in a hearty way, -
"Well, it's got to be. Good-by!"

The time jes melts like a late, last snow, -
When it's got to be, it melts!
But I aim to keep a cheerful mind,
Ef I can't keep nothin' else!
I knowed, when I come to twenty-one,
That I'd soon be twenty-two, -
So I waved one hand at the soft young man,
And I said, "Good-by to you!"

It's got to be, and it's goin' to be!
So at least I always try
To kind o' say, in a cheerful way, -
"Well, it's got to be. - Good-by!"

They kep' a-goin', the years and years,
Yet still I smiled and smiled, -
For I'd said "Good-by" to my single life,
And I now had a wife and child:
Mother and son and the father - one, -
Till, last, on her bed of pain,
She jes' smiled up, like she always done, -
And I said "Good-by" again.

It's got to be, and it's goin' to be!
So at least I always try
To kind o' say, in a humble way, -
"Well, it's got to be. Good-by!"

And then my boy - as he growed to be
Almost a man in size, -
Was more than a pride and joy to me,
With his mother's smilin' eyes. -
He gimme the slip, when the War broke out,
And followed me. And I
Never knowed till the first right's end ...
I found him, and then, ... "Good-by."

It's got to be, and it's goin' to be!
So at least I always try
To kind o' say, in a patient way,
"Well, it's got to be. Good-by!"

I have said, "Good-by! - Good-by! - Good-by!"
With my very best good will,
All through life from the first, - and I
Am a cheerful old man still:

But it's got to end, and it's goin' to end!
And this is the thing I'll do, -
With my last breath I will laugh, O Death,
And say "Good-by" to you!...

It's got to be! And again I say, -
When his old scythe circles high,
I'll laugh - of course, in the kindest way, -
As I say "Good-by! - Good-by!"

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