Beds of flowers, or vales of tears;
Dewdrops on buds of roses—
Or miser-souls, as dry as desert-sands;
The little, running joys of childhood,
Or the stampede of wild passions;
The ebbing and rising of laughter,
Or the haunting melancholy of sorrow;
The will-o’-the-wisp of our desire,
Leading only from mire to mire;
The octopus-grip of self-complacency,
And time-beaten habits;
The first cry of the new-born babe—
And the last groan of death;
The bursting joy of health
Or the ravages of cruel disease—
These, all, are but shadows
Seen by us on the cosmic mental-screen.
Shadows, and nothing but shadows!
Yet shadows have, O, so many shades!
For there are dark shadows,
And there are light shadows—
So even shadows may entertain!