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If I can Live (Poem)

If I can live
To make some pale face brighter, and to give
A second luster to some tear-dimmed eye,
Or e'en impart
One throb of comfort to an aching heart,
Or cheer some wayworn soul in passing by;

If I can lend
A strong hand to the fallen, or defend
The right against a single envious strain,
My life, tho' bare
Perhaps of much that seemeth dear and fair
To us on earth, will not have been in vain.

The purest joy,
Most near to Heaven, far from earth's alloy,
Is bidding clouds give way to sun and shine,
And 'twill be well
lf on that day of days the angels tell
Of me, "She did her best for one of Thine."

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.
—Proverbs 17:22

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Helen Hunt Jackson

  • Born Helen Fiske on October 15th, 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts
  • Died on August 12th, 1885 of stomach cancer in San Francisco, California
  • American poet and author
  • Native American activist
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