Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE BALLAD OF SMILES AND TEARS, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY



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THE BALLAD OF SMILES AND TEARS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When the gleeful spring on
Last Line: Then hearts that are heavy may melt in tears.
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Seasons; Smiles; Soul; Tears


I

WHEN the gleeful Spring on dancing feet
Pranks the sward of the forest aisles,
And the bluebird pipes from his old retreat,
O then may the glad face bloom with smiles:
But whenever the wind of winter piles
The drifting snow on the frozen meres,
And the feet are worn with the weary miles,
Then hearts that are heavy may melt in tears.

II

When the soul is brimmed with a joy too sweet
To waste like that of a laughing child's,
When the lips of love for the first time meet,
O then may the glad face bloom with smiles;
But whenever the kiss of love defiles,
And friendship wanes with the waning years,
When faith has perished, and hope beguiles,
Then hearts that are heavy may melt in tears.

III

When the brow is crowned and the song complete,
And the minstrel's guerdon reconciles
The victor-soul to the heart's defeat,
O then may the glad face bloom with smiles:
But whenever the world in scorn compiles
Its ready pages of scoffs and jeers,
And the brain is weary of envy's wiles,
Then hearts that are heavy may melt in tears.

L'ENVOY
When the eyelids droop like a drowsy child's,
O then may the glad face bloom with smiles:
But whenever the waking is fraught with fears,
Then hearts that are heavy may melt in tears.





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