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Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The Question

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 lifes first beginning
  How many burdens have you helped to bear?

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox's other poems:
  1. The Birth of the Opal
  2. The Awakening (I love the tropics, where sun and rain)
  3. The Breaking of Chains
  4. The Chain
  5. The Coming Man

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Percy Shelley The Question ("I dreamed that, as I wandered by the way")
  • Alice Meynell The Question ("Virgil stayed Dante with a wayside word")
  • Wilfred Gibson The Question ("I WONDER if the old cow died or not")

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