Paul Laurence Dunbar

Explore the Books

Lyrics of Love and Laughter (1903)

Lyrics of Love and Laughter

Dedicated to Miss Catherine Impey

First published by Dodd, Mead and Company
University Press, John Wilson and Son, Cambridge USA

Copyright 1903

Life's Tragedy

It may be misery not to sing at all
And to go silent through the brimming day.
It may be sorrow never to be loved,
But deeper griefs than these beset the way.

To have come near to sing the perfect song
And only by a half-tone lost the key,
There is the potent sorrow, there the grief,
The pale, sad staring of life's tragedy.

To have just missed the perfect love,
Not the hot passion of untempered youth,
But that which lays aside its vanity
And gives thee, for thy trusting worship, truth

This, this it is to be accursed indeed;
For if we mortals love, or if we sing,
We count our joys not by the things we have,
But by what kept us from the perfect thing.

This poem appears in the following book(s):

Lyrics of Love and Laughter

3640 Colonel Glenn Highway, Dayton, Ohio 45435. Phone: (937) 775-2525