by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Between the acts while the orchestra played
That sweet old waltz with the lilting measure,
I drifted away to a dear dead day,
When the dance, for me, was the sum of all pleasure;
When my veins were rife with the fever of life,
When hope ran high as an inswept ocean,
And my heart's great gladness was almost madness,
As I floated off to the music's motion.
How little I cared for the world outside!
How little I cared for the dull day after!
The thought of trouble went up like a bubble,
And burst in a sparkle of mirthful laughter,
Oh! and the beat of it, oh! and the sweet of it --
Melody, motion, and young blood melted;
The dancers swaying, the players playing,
The air song-deluged and music-pelted.
I knew no weariness, no, not I --
My step was as light as the waving grasses
That flutter with ease on the strong-armed breeze,
As it waltzes over the wild morasses.
Life was all sound and swing; youth was a perfect thing;
Night was the goddess of satisfaction.
Oh, how I tripped away, right to the edge of day!
Joy lay in motion, and rest lay in action.
I dance no more on the music's wave,
I yield no more to its wildering power,
That time has flown like a rose that is blown,
Yet life is a garden forever in flower.
Though storms of tears have watered the years,
Between to-day and the day departed,
Though trials have met me, and grief's waves wet me,
And I have been tired and trouble-hearted.
Though under the sod of a wee green grave,
A great, sweet hope in darkness perished,
Yet life, to my thinking, is a cup worth drinking,
A gift to be glad of, and loved, and cherished.
There is deeper pleasure in the slower measure
That Time's grand orchestra now is playing.
Its mellowed minor is sadder but finer,
And life grows daily more worth the living.
Source:Poems of Ella Wheeler Wilcox
W.P. Nimmo, Hay, and Mitchell, Edinburgh