Abram Joseph Ryan
A Laugh -- And A Moan
The brook that down the valley
So musically drips,
Flowed never half so brightly
As the light laugh from her lips.
Her face was like the lily,
Her heart was like the rose,
Her eyes were like a heaven
Where the sunlight always glows.
She trod the earth so lightly
Her feet touched not a thorn;
Her words wore all the brightness
Of a young life's happy morn.
Along her laughter rippled
The melody of joy;
She drank from every chalice,
And tasted no alloy.
Her life was all a laughter,
Her days were all a smile,
Her heart was pure and happy,
She knew not gloom nor guile.
She rested on the bosom
Of her mother, like a flower
That blooms far in a valley
Where no storm-clouds ever lower.
And -- 'Merry, merry, merry!'
Rang the bells of every hour,
And -- 'Happy, happy, happy!'
In her valley laughed the flower.
There was not a sign of shadow,
There was not a tear nor thorn,
And the sweet voice of her laughter
Filled with melody the morn.
* * * * *
Years passed -- 'twas long, long after,
And I saw a face at prayer;
There was not a sign of laughter,
There was every sign of care.
For the sunshine all had faded
From the valley and the flower,
And the once fair face was shaded
In life's lonely evening hour.
And the lips that smiled with laughter
In the valley of the morn,
In the valley of the evening
They were pale and sorrow-worn.
And I read the old, old lesson
In her face and in her tears,
While she sighed amid the shadows
Of the sunset of her years.
All the rippling streams of laughter
From our hearts and lips that flow,
Shall be frozen, cold years after,
Into icicles of woe.
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