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John Keats: Why did I laugh tonight? No voice will tell

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Why did I laugh tonight? No voice will tell

John Keats (1795-1821)




Why did I laugh tonight? No voice will tell:

    No god, no demon of severe response,

Deigns to reply from heaven or from hell.

    Then to my human heart I turn at once-

Heart! thou and I are here sad and alone;

    Say, wherefore did I laugh? O mortal pain!

O darkness! darkness! ever must I moan,

    To question heaven and hell and heart in vain!

Why did I laugh? I know this being's lease-

    My fancy to its utmost blisses spreads:

Yet could I on this very midnight cease,

    And the world's gaudy ensigns see in shreds.

Verse, fame, and beauty are intense indeed,

But death intenser-death is life's high meed.