Laughter in the Senate
| Laughter in the Senate
|Sidney Lanier composed this poem in 1868. Along with “The Raven Days” and “Our Hills”, this poem is Lanier’s lament for the devastated land and people of the South in those desperate times following the American Civil War.|
In the South lies a lonesome, hungry Land;
He huddles his rags with a cripple’s hand;
He mutters, prone on the barren sand,
What time his heart is breaking.
He lifts his bare head from the ground;
He listens through the gloom around:
The winds have brought him a strange sound
Of distant merrymaking.
Comes now the Peace so long delayed?
Is it the cheerful voice of Aid?
Begins the time his heart has prayed,
When men may reap and sow?
Ah, God! Back to the cold earth’s breast!
The sages chuckle o’er their jest;
Must they, to give a people rest,
Their dainty wit forego?
The tyrants sit in a stately hall;
They jibe at a wretched people’s fall;
The tyrants forget how fresh is the pall
Over their dead and ours.
Look how the senators ape the clown,
And don the motley and hide the gown,
But yonder a fast-rising frown
On the people’s forehead lowers.