If.

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by Paul Laurence Dunbar

IF life were but a dream, my Love,
And death the waking time;
If day had not a beam, my Love,
And night had not a rhyme,--
A barren, barren world were this
Without one saving gleam -
I 'd only ask that with a kiss
You 'd wake me from the dream.

If dreaming were the sum of days,
And loving were the bane;
If battling for a wreath of bays
Could soothe a heart in pain,--
I 'd scorn the meed of battle's might,
All other aims above
I 'd choose the human's higher right,
To suffer and to love !

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