The Masquerade

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The Masquerade
by Olive Custance
Title refers to Oscar Wilde's The Harlot's House; written in 1902.


Masked dancers in the Dance of life
We move sedately ... wearily together,
Afraid to show a sign of inward strife,
We hold our souls in tether.

We dance with proud and smiling lips,
We frank appealing eyes, with shy hands clinging.
We sing, and few will question if there slips
A sob into our singing.

Each has a certain step to learn;
Our prisoned feet move staidly in set paces,
And to and fro we pass, since life is stern,
Patiently, with masked faces.

Yet some there are who will not dance,
They sit apart most sorrowful and splendid,
But all the rest trip on as in a trance,
Until the Dance is ended.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).