Sonnet: Why Did I Laugh Tonight?


    Why did I laugh to-night? 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;
    I say, why 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 would I on this very midnight cease,
    And all the world's gaudy ensigns see in shreds;
    Verse, Fame, and Beauty are intense indeed,
    But Death intenser, Death is Life's high meed.


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