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William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)

Ballade of Dead Actors


              1Where are the passions they essayed,
              2And where the tears they made to flow?
              3Where the wild humours they portrayed
              4For laughing worlds to see and know?
              5Othello's wrath and Juliet's woe?
              6Sir Peter's whims and Timon's gall?
              7And Millamant and Romeo?
              8Into the night go one and all.

              9Where are the braveries, fresh or frayed?
            10The plumes, the armours -- friend and foe?
            11The cloth of gold, the rare brocade,
            12The mantles glittering to and fro?
            13The pomp, the pride, the royal show?
            14The cries of war and festival?
            15The youth, the grace, the charm, the glow?
            16Into the night go one and all.

            17The curtain falls, the play is played:
            18The Beggar packs beside the Beau;
            19The Monarch troops, and troops the Maid;
            20The Thunder huddles with the Snow.
            21Where are the revellers high and low?
            22The clashing swords? The lover's call?
            23The dancers gleaming row on row?
            24Into the night go one and all.

Envoy
            25Prince, in one common overthrow
            26The Hero tumbles with the Thrall:
            27As dust that drives, as straws that blow,
            28Into the night go one and all.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: William Ernest Henley, Poems (London: Macmillan and Co., 1920): 59-60. PR 4783 A36 1921 Robarts Library
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 4:2002/4/24

Composition date: 1898
Rhyme: ababcdcd


Other poems by William Ernest Henley