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The Collected Poems of Dora Sigerson Shorter/But for the Tears

< The Collected Poems of Dora Sigerson Shorter
For other versions of this work, see But for the Tears.

BUT FOR THE TEARS

The World were a place to play in,” said the children,
“The playground of the present; all that is have we,
No past is ours to sorrow,
No clouding thought of morrow,
And joy is slow in passing where we be.
With knowledge of a soul's right scarce awake,
Life had no fears:
The World were good to play in,” said the children,
“But for the tears.”

“The World were good to love in,” said the youth.
“With a future all our own to dream and do,
With a fate for our soul's making.
Fame for our manhood's taking.
And Hope will never shun as we pursue.
Crowned with knowledge of a soul our calm and fair
horizon clears;
And the World were good to love in,” said the youth,
“But for the tears.”

“The World were good to die in,” said the aged,
“When lost years come to haunt you with their groans.
When dead dreams won't be stilled.
And hopes long unfulfilled
Beat on your bleeding heart nor heed its moans.
With knowledge of a soul's right gained and lost,
Less love endears
Some little your poor flesh: O welcome, death, to age,
Save for those tears.”