THE LAY OF THE SINGER'S FALL
by: Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953)
was born in a land of gold,
- In the time of the long ago
- And the good fairies gathered from heath and wold
- With gracious gifts to bestow.
- They gave him the grace of Mirth and Song,
- They crowned him with Health and Joy
- And love for the Right and hate for the Wrong
- They instilled in the soul of the boy;
- But when they were gone, through the open door
- The Devil of Doubt crept in,
- And he breathed his poison in every pore
- Of the sleeping infant's skin,
- And in impish glee, said "Remember me
- For I shall abide for aye with thee
- From the very first moment thine eyes shall see
- And know the meaning of sin."
- The singer became a man and he fought
- With the might of his pen and hand
- To show for evil the cure long sought,
- And spread Truth over the land;
- Till the Devil mockingly said, "In sooth
- 'Tis a sorry ideal you ride,
- For the truth of truths is there is no truth!"
- --And the faith of the singer died--
- And the singer was sad and he turned to Love
- And the arms of his ladye faire,
- He sang of her eyes as the stars above
- He sang of -- and kissed -- her hair;
- Till the Devil whispered, "I fondly trust
- This is folly and nought beside,
- For the greatest of loves is merely lust!"
- --And the heart of the singer died--
- So the singer turned from the world's mad strife
- And he walked in the paths untrod,
- And thrilled to the dream of a future life
- As he prayed to the most high God;
- Till the Devil murmured with sneering breath,
- "What think you the blind skies hide?
- There is nothing sure after death but death!"
- --And the soul of the singer died--
- And the lips of the singer were flecked with red
- And torn with a bitter cry,
- "When Truth and Love and God are dead
- It is time, full time, to die!"
- And the Devil in triumph chuckled low,
- "There is always suicide,
- It's the only logical thing I know."
- --And the life of the singer died.
POEMS BY EUGENE O'NEILL
"The Lay of the Singer's Fall"
is reprinted from the New London Telegraph, 27 November,