The Marionettes

Let the foul Scene proceed:
There's laughter in the wings;
'Tis sawdust that they bleed,
But a box Death brings.

How rare a skill is theirs
These extreme pangs to show,
How real a frenzy wears
Each feigner of woe!

Gigantic dins uprise!
Even the gods must feel
A smarting of the eyes
As these fumes upsweal.

Strange, such a Piece is free,
While we Spectators sit,
Aghast at its agony,
Yet absorbed in it!

Dark is the outer air,
Coldly the night draughts blow,
Mutely we stare, and stare
At the frenzied Show.

Yet heaven hath its quiet shroud
Of deep, immutable blue—
We cry “An end!” We are bowed
By the dread, “'Tis true!”

While the Shape who hoofs applause
Behind our deafened ear,
Hoots—angel-wise—“the Cause!”
And affright even fear.
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