Why did I laugh tonight?
Why did I laugh tonight? No voice will tell:
No god, no demon of severe response,
Deigns to reply from heaven or from hell.
Then to my human heart I turn at once -
Heart! thou and I are here sad and alone;
Say, wherefore did I laugh? O mortal pain!
O darkness! darkness! ever must I moan,
To question heaven and hell and heart in vain!
Why did I laugh? I know this being’s lease -
My fancy to its utmost blisses spreads:
Yet could I on this very midnight cease,
And the world’s gaudy ensigns see in shreds.
Verse, fame, and beauty are intense indeed,
But death intenser - death is life’s high meed.
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.