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Paul Laurence Dunbar - Life's Tragedy

It may be misery not to sing at all, 
And to go silent through the brimming day; 
It may be misery never to be loved, 
But deeper griefs than these beset the way.

To sing the perfect song, 
And by a half-tone lost the key, 
There the potent sorrow, there the grief, 
The pale, sad staring of Life's Tragedy.

To have come near to the perfect love, 
Not the hot passion of untempered youth, 
But that which lies aside its vanity, 
And gives, for thy trusting worship, truth.

This, this indeed is to be accursed, 
For if we mortals love, or if we sing, 
We count our joys not by what we have, 
But by what kept us from that perfect thing. 

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Added: Mar 17 2005 | Viewed: 12958 times | Comments and analysis of Life's Tragedy by Paul Laurence Dunbar Comments (3)

Life's Tragedy - Comments and Information

Poet: Paul Laurence Dunbar
Poem: Life's Tragedy
Poem of the Day: May 15 2007

Comment 3 of 3, added on April 24th, 2009 at 3:21 AM.

Dear Writer,

I wanted to take a moment to point out that the poem as written is incorrect. The end of the poem should read, "We count our joys not by the things we have, but by what kept us from the perfect thing."

Timothy from United States
Comment 2 of 3, added on March 10th, 2008 at 1:48 PM.

this poem is very touching and its very true

chelsie from United States
Comment 1 of 3, added on July 10th, 2007 at 7:13 PM.

I've loved this poem since I was young. Having just lost my mother, I re-read it again for the first time in many years and it still means so much to me. Appreciate everything, especially love. In the end, nothing you have matters except what you have in your heart.

C. LeBLanc from United States

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