by: Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953)

      SINGER 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.

"The Lay of the Singer's Fall" is reprinted from the New London Telegraph, 27 November, 1912.




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