Verse > Anthologies > Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. > The Little Book of Modern Verse
Jessie B. Rittenhouse, ed. (1869–1948).  The Little Book of Modern Verse.  1917.
43. The Tears of Harlequin
By Theodosia Garrison
TO you he gave his laughter and his jest,
His words that of all words were merriest,
  His glad, mad moments when the lights flared high
And his wild song outshrilled the plaudits’ din.
  For you that memory, but happier I—        5
I, who have known the tears of Harlequin.
Not mine those moments when the roses lay
Like red spilled wine on his triumphant way,
  And shouts acclaimed him through the music’s beat,
Above the voice of flute and violin.        10
  But I have known his hour of sore defeat—
I—have known the tears of Harlequin.
Light kisses and light words, they were not mine—
Poor perquisites of many a Columbine
  Bought with his laughter, flattered by his jest;        15
But when despair broke through the painted grin,
  His tortured face has fallen on my breast—
I—I have known the tears of Harlequin.
You weep for him, who look upon him dead,
That joy and jest and merriment are fled;        20
  You weep for him, what time my eyes are dry,
Knowing what peace a weary soul may win
  Stifled by too much masking—even I—
I, who have known the tears of Harlequin.


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