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Poem by Sidney Lanier


Laughter in the Senate


In the South lies a lonesome, hungry Land;
He huddles his rags with a cripples hand;
He mutters, prone on the barren sand,
What time his heart is breaking.

He lifts his bare head from the ground;
He listens through the gloom around:
The winds have brought him a strange sound
Of distant merrymaking.

Comes now the Peace so long delayed?
Is it the cheerful voice of Aid?
Begins the time his heart has prayed,
When men may reap and sow?

Ah, God! Back to the cold earths breast!
The sages chuckle oer their jest;
Must they, to give a people rest,
Their dainty wit forego?

The tyrants sit in a stately hall;
They jibe at a wretched peoples fall;
The tyrants forget how fresh is the pall
Over their dead and ours.

Look how the senators ape the clown,
And don the motley and hide the gown,
But yonder a fast-rising frown
On the peoples forehead lowers.



Sidney Lanier


Sidney Lanier's other poems:
  1. A Sea-Shore Grave. To M. J. L.
  2. A Song of the Future
  3. Nilsson
  4. The Wedding
  5. Thou and I


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