In Time Of Famine
by Helen Hunt Jackson
She has no heart, they said, and turned away,
Then, stung so that I wished my words might be
Two-edged swords, I answered low: --
Not read how once when famine held fierce sway
In Lydia, and men died day by day
Of hunger, there were found brave souls whose glee
Scarce hid their pangs, who said, 'Now we
Can eat but once in two days; we will play
Such games on those days when we eat no food
That we forget our pain.'
Thus they withstood
Long years of famine; and to them we owe
The trumpets, pipes, and balls which mirth finds good
To-day, and little dreams that of such woe
They first were born.
That woman's life I know
Has been all famine. Mock now if ye dare,
To hear her brave sad laughter in the air.
Roberts Brothers, Boston