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What is your art, O poet?
Only to catch and to hold
In a poor, frail word-mould
A little of life;
That the soul to whom you show it
May say: "With truth it is rife,
This poem--I lived it of old."


Ah, the light wherein we read
Must be the light of the past,
Or your poem is nothing at best
But an empty rhyme.
And to summon back grief what need
Of word of yours?--through all time
It abides with us to the last.


Sing to us of joy, then. Borrow
Of life its happiest hours.
Sing of love and hope, of flowers,
Of laughter and smiles;
But not too oft of sorrow!--
The song that our grief beguiles
Is the best, in this world of ours.