O harass not a driven leaf,
Nor stubble dry in wrath pursue;
A life so brief load not with grief,
Nor with thine arrow pierce me through.
The fragile leaf, by tempest tost,
Is scarcely worth a passing thought;
The brook is crossed, and then is lost;
There let it lie, a thing of naught.
The stubble dry ne'er grows again;
To golden grain it gave its sap.
It died, and then 'twas left by men
To rot betimes, or some mishap.
Am I not like the stubble dry
And fragile leaf by tempest strewed?
Must I not die, then tell me why
A thing so frail is thus pursued?
A voice replies: "Thy life is frail,
Much like the leaf and stubble dry;
Thy strength must fail, and as the gale
Bears them away, so must thou die;
"But live again, in bliss, or pain;
For death to man does not end all;
Life is not vain, if thou but gain
A home in heaven, when I shall call!
"To fit thy soul for endless rest,
I harass now the driven leaf,
But though sore pressed and grief distressed,
The life of sorrow will be brief.
"And when released from suffering clay,
Thy blood-bought spirit shall arise
To endless day. Then thou shalt say,
The ways of God are good and wise."