- Year Published: 1913
- Language: English
- Country of Origin: United States of America
- Source: Dunbar, P.L. (1913). The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company.
- Flesch–Kincaid Level: 6.5
- Word Count: 111
Dunbar, P. (1913). "If". Lyrics of Lowly Life (Lit2Go Edition). Retrieved January 20, 2022, from
Dunbar, Paul Laurence. ""If"." Lyrics of Lowly Life. Lit2Go Edition. 1913. Web. <>. January 20, 2022.
Paul Laurence Dunbar, ""If"," Lyrics of Lowly Life, Lit2Go Edition, (1913), accessed January 20, 2022,.
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!