The Gay

by AE
Those moon-gilded dancers
Prankt like butterflies,
Theirs was such lovely folly
It stayed my rapt eyes:
But my heart that was pondering
Was sadly wise.

To be so lighthearted
What pain was left behind;
What fetters fallen gave them
Unto this airy mind:
What dark sins were pardoned;
What God was kind!

I with long anguish bought
Joy that was soon in flight;
And wondered what these paid
For years of young delight;
Ere they were born what tears
Through what long night.

All these gay cheeks, light feet,
Were telling over again,
But in a heavenly accent,
A tale of ancient pain
That, the joy spent, must pass
To sorrow again.

I went into the wilderness
Of night to be alone,
Holding sorrow and joy
Hugged to my heart as one,
Lest they fly on those wild ways
And life be undone.
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