We wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,— This debt we pay to human guile; With torn and bleeding hearts we smile And mouth with myriad subtleties, Why should the world be over-wise, In counting all our tears and sighs? Nay, let them only see us, while We wear the mask. We smile, but oh great Christ, our cries To thee from tortured souls arise. We sing, but oh the clay is vile Beneath our feet, and long the mile, But let the world dream otherwise, We wear the mask!
Paul Laurence Dunbar - 1872-1906
Ring out, ye bells! All Nature swells With gladness at the wondrous story,— The world was lorn, But Christ is born To change our sadness into glory. Sing, earthlings, sing! To-night a King Hath come from heaven's high throne to bless us. The outstretched hand O'er all the land Is raised in pity to caress us. Come at his call; Be joyful all; Away with mourning and with sadness! The heavenly choir With holy fire Their voices raise in songs of gladness. The darkness breaks And Dawn awakes, Her cheeks suffused with youthful blushes. The rocks and stones In holy tones Are singing sweeter than the thrushes. Then why should we In silence be, When Nature lends her voice to praises; When heaven and earth Proclaim the truth Of Him for whom that lone star blazes? No, be not still, But with a will Strike all your harps and set them ringing; On hill and heath Let every breath Throw all its power into singing!