No. 11 Gather up the Sunbeams

In Verse 1, “briars” is an alternate spelling of “briers”. In Verse 3, “tomorrow” is still at the hyphenated stage of becoming one word instead of two.
While Verses 3 and 4 may seem a bit morbid to us, losing one’s child was common sad reality up through after WWI. In my research for another project, I have seen parents buried in graveyards surrounded by several of their children, all of whom had died before they were even three. My great-grandparents had ten children, all of whom lived to adulthood. This was extremely unusual at the time. Although it is always tragic to lose a child, vaccinations, new techniques and antibiotics have made it possible for most parents to never experience this pain.

Verse 1:
Let us gather up the sunbeams
Lying all around our path;
Let us keep the wheat and roses,
Casting out the thorns and chaff,
Let us find our sweetest comfort
In the blessings of today,
With a patient hand removing
All the briars from the way.
With a patient hand removing
All the briars from the way.

Verse 2:
Strange we never prize the music
Till the sweet-voiced bird is flown!
Strange that we should slight the violets
Till the lovely flow’rs are gone!
Strange that summer skies and sunshine
Never seem one half as fair,
As when winter’s snowy pinions
Shake the white down in the air!
As when winter’s snowy pinions
Shake the white down in the air!

Verse 3:
If we knew the baby fingers,
Pressed against the window pane,
Would be cold and stiff to-morrow–
Never trouble us again–
Would the bright eyes of our darling
Catch the frown upon our brow?–
Would the prints of rosy fingers
Vex us then as they do now?
Would the bright eyes of our darling
Catch the frown upon our brow!–
Would the prints of rosy fingers
Vex us then as they do now?

Verse 4:
Ah! those little ice-cold fingers,
How they point the mem’ries back
To the hasty words and actions
Strewn along our backward track!
How those little hands remind us,
As in snowy grace they lie,
Not to scatter thorns–but roses–
For our reaping by and by.
How those little hands remind us,
As in snowy grace they lie,
Not to scatter thorns–but roses–
For our reaping by and by.

Mrs. Albert Smith/T. Martin Towne

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