Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE THEATRE-CURTAIN, by ANNA HEMPSTEAD BRANCH

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE THEATRE-CURTAIN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: What a happy folk are these
Last Line: And to forget!
Subject(s): Actors & Actresses; Actresses

WHAT a happy folk are these --
That the artist's hand has wrought
On the curtain, gay as thought --
Light as folly, how they please!
And the play that lived behind
Passes, faint as any wind!
And we have riot any mind
Save for these!
Ah -- this theatre-curtain! Think awhile
How the faces on it smile!
How they dance,
Leads her sportive pageant in
With Harlequin!
Gay Pierrot!
Sweet Pierrette!
We forget
What's the show
Till the lights go out, and lo!
And Juliet!
And the motley -- gone at last!
All the gay,
jesting throng
Fled away!
Following after
Went the laughter
And the past
Has their song!
Yet we know they'll come again --
That is sure!
Strange it is that in this world of men
'T is our laughters that endure!
Only tears shall pass away,
Sorrow vanish, like the play!
When all's said and done there'll fall
A healing joy over all!
Even so
Juliet weeps and Romeo
Faints and dies --
While following the voice of woe
Comes the singing of Pierrot,
And the laughter of Pierrette stops the sighs.
Oh, the merriments of earth!
We do well --
When we dance, sing, and smile!
Truly we were made for mirth!
And I love this painted throng!
Glad am I to know that after
This sad play will come the laughter
And the song.
And I thank the hand that wrought
Such delight with such a thought
That the theatre-curtain falls
Bringing joy by the hand,
Singing dancers in a band --
And a voice none can withstand
Calls and calls --
Like a day
In sweet o' June!
I forget the inner breath,
Parting, fear, despair, and death,
And my own feet dance away
To the tune!
Dears, who painted here do dwell --
Flushed and gay, I love you well!
Oh, to bide as one of these!
I could dance as well as they,
Have my laughter and be gay!
And forget the strange old way
So beset with mysteries.
The fine,
And mocking --
Lifts her skirt and shows her stocking!
Sweetheart, fie! And foldero!
Maids and gallants in a row
To the fair!
Oh, what are these whisperings,
Like a sigh that breathes and clings!
If the saddened heart of things
Breaks behind us, who 's to care?
I forswear
Romeo and Juliet!
Rest ye, sweets! I must forget
How ye sorrowed, when Pierrette
Whirls her timbre in the air,
Dancing down to seek the fair.
How the motley crew comes prancing!
How they whirl and pirouette
Gay Pierrot,
Sweet Pierrette!
Swiftly glancing!
I forget
Some one sorrowed! Is it so?
Peace, it was so long ago.
Prithee, pipe! And let's be dancing!
Faith! This world's a pleasant show!
Dears, I love it! Here we go!
(But the heart break? Be it so.)
Hi di di and tripping toe
All the way!
I will kiss thee, one, two, three --
An thou 'It give but one to me,
And be gay!
Is it thine -- this haunting fear?
This despair that breathes so near?
World-old sorrow
What dost thou here?)
'Tis to-morrow!
Sweet my dear --
(Oh, hush thee, Juliet!)
This --
Pierrette --
Is all I ask!
Motley and a singing mask,
And to forget!

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