We Wear the Mask

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, O 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!

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