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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Wilfred Scawen Blunt (1840–1922)

Laughter and Death

THERE is no laughter in the natural world

Of beast or fish or bird, though no sad doubt

Of their futurity to them unfurled

Has dared to check the mirth-compelling shout.

The lion roars his solemn thunder out

To the sleeping woods. The eagle screams her cry.

Even the lark must strain a serious throat

To hurl his blest defiance at the sky.

Fear, anger, jealousy, have found a voice.

Love’s pain or rapture the brute bosoms swell.

Nature has symbols for her nobler joys,

Her nobler sorrows, Who had dared foretell

That only man by some sad mockery

Should learn to laugh who learns that he must die?