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Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The Play

In the rosy light of my days fair morning,
   Ere ever a storm cloud darkened the west,
Ere even a shadow of night gave warning
   When life seemed only a pleasure quest,
Why then all humour and comedy scorning--
   I liked high tragedy best.

I liked the challenge, the fierce fought duel,
   With a death or a parting in every act.
I liked the villain to be more cruel
   Than the basest villain could be in fact:
For it fed the fires of my mind with the fuel
   Of the things that my life lacked.

But as time passed on, and I met real sorrow,
   And she played at night on the stage--my heart,
I found I could not forget on the morrow
   The pain I had felt in her tragic part.
For alas! no longer I needed to borrow
   My grief from the actors art.

And as life grows older, and therefore sadder
   (Though sweeter maybe with its autumn haze),
I find more pleasure in watching the gladder
   And lighter order of humorous plays.
Where the mirth is as mad, or maybe madder,
   Than the mirth of my lost days.

I like to be forced to laugh and be merry,
   Though the earth with sorrow and pain is rife:
I like for an evening at least to bury
   All thoughts of trouble, or pain, or strife.
In sooth, I like to be moved to the very
   Emotions I miss in life.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox's other poems:
  1. The Birth of the Opal
  2. At Eleusis
  3. But a Dream
  4. The Call (All wantonly in hours of joy)
  5. The Awakening (I love the tropics, where sun and rain)

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