A Laugh — and A Moan By Abram Joseph Ryan

    The brook that down the valley
     So musically drips,
    Flowed never half so brightly
     As the light laugh from her lips.

    Her face was like the lily,
     Her heart was like the rose,
    Her eyes were like a heaven
     Where the sunlight always glows.

    She trod the earth so lightly
     Her feet touched not a thorn;
    Her words wore all the brightness
     Of a young life’s happy morn.

    Along her laughter rippled
     The melody of joy;
    She drank from every chalice,
     And tasted no alloy.

    Her life was all a laughter,
     Her days were all a smile,
    Her heart was pure and happy,
     She knew not gloom nor guile.

    She rested on the bosom
     Of her mother, like a flower
    That blooms far in a valley
     Where no storm-clouds ever lower.

    And — “Merry, merry, merry!”
     Rang the bells of every hour,
    And — “Happy, happy, happy!”
     In her valley laughed the flower.

    There was not a sign of shadow,
     There was not a tear nor thorn,
    And the sweet voice of her laughter
     Filled with melody the morn.

             *        *        *        *        *

    Years passed — ’twas long, long after,
     And I saw a face at prayer;
    There was not a sign of laughter,
     There was every sign of care.

    For the sunshine all had faded
     From the valley and the flower,
    And the once fair face was shaded
     In life’s lonely evening hour.

    And the lips that smiled with laughter
     In the valley of the morn,
    In the valley of the evening
     They were pale and sorrow-worn.

    And I read the old, old lesson
     In her face and in her tears,
    While she sighed amid the shadows
     Of the sunset of her years.

    All the rippling streams of laughter
     From our hearts and lips that flow,
    Shall be frozen, cold years after,
     Into icicles of woe.