The Singer

A poem by Laurence Hope (Adela Florence Cory Nicolson)

The singer only sang the Joy of Life,
For all too well, alas! the singer knew
How hard the daily toil, how keen the strife,
How salt the falling tear; the joys how few.

He who thinks hard soon finds it hard to live,
Learning the Secret Bitterness of Things:
So, leaving thought, the singer strove to give
A level lightness to his lyric strings.

He only sang of Love; its joy and pain,
But each man in his early season loves;
Each finds the old, lost Paradise again,
Unfolding leaves, and roses, nesting doves.

And though that sunlit time flies all too fleetly,
Delightful Days that dance away too soon!
Its early morning freshness lingers sweetly
Throughout life's grey and tedious afternoon.

And he, whose dreams enshrine her tender eyes,
And she, whose senses wait his waking hand,
Impatient youth, that tired but sleepless lies,
Will read perhaps, and reading, understand.

Oh, roseate lips he would have loved to kiss,
Oh, eager lovers that he never knew!
What should you know of him, or words of his? -
But all the songs he sang were sung for you!

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