Why did I laugh tonight? No voice will tell:
No god, no demon of severe response,
Deigns to reply from heaven or from hell.
Then to my human heart I turn at once —
Heart! thou and I are here sad and alone;
Say, wherefore did I laugh! O mortal pain!
O darkness! darkness! ever must I moan,
To question heaven and hell and heart in vain!
Why did I laugh? I know this being’s lease —
My fancy to its utmost blisses spreads:
Yet could I on this very midnight cease,
And the world’s gaudy ensigns see in shreds.
Verse, fame, and beauty are intense indeed,
But death intenser — death is life’s high meed.