The Question

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   Beside us in our seeking after pleasures,
      Through all our restless striving after fame,
   Through all our search for worldly gains and treasures,
      There walketh one whom no man likes to name.
   Silent he follows, veiled of form and feature,
      Indifferent if we sorrow or rejoice,
   Yet that day comes when every living creature
      Must look upon his face and hear his voice.

   When that day comes to you, and Death, unmasking,
      Shall bar your path, and say, “Behold the end,”
   What are the questions that he will be asking
      About your past? Have you considered, friend?
   I think he will not chide you for your sinning,
      Nor for your creeds or dogmas will he care;
   He will but ask, “From your life’s first beginning
      How many burdens have you helped to bear?”

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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