Our lives are songs. God writes the words,
And we set them to music at pleasure;
And the song grows glad, or sweet, or sad,
As we choose to fashion the measure.
We must write the music, whatever the song,
Whatever its rhyme, or metre;
And if it is sad, we can make it glad,
Or if sweet, we can make it sweeter.
One has a song that is free and strong;
But the music he writes is minor;
And the sad, sad strain is replete with pain,
And the singer becomes a repiner.
And he thinks God gave him a dirge-like lay,
Nor knows the words are cheery;
And the song seems lonely and solemn--only
Because the music is dreary.
And the song of another has through the words
An under current of sadness;
But he sets it to music of ringing chords,
And makes it a pean of gladness.
So whether our songs are sad or not,
We can give the world more pleasure,
And better ourselves, by setting the words
To a glad, triumphant measure.
Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.
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