W.S. Gilbert

The Tangled Skein

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Try we life-long, we can never
Straighten out life's tangled skein,
Why should we, in vain endeavour,
Guess and guess and guess again?
Life's a pudding full of plums
Care's a canker that benumbs.
Wherefore waste our elocution
On impossible solution?
Life's a pleasant institution,
Let us take it as it comes!

Set aside the dull enigma,
We shall guess it all too soon;
Failure brings no kind of stigma -
Dance we to another tune!
String the lyre and fill the cup,
Lest on sorrow we should sup;
Hop and skip to Fancy's fiddle,
Hands across and down the middle -
Life's perhaps the only riddle
That we shrink from giving up!

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W.S. Gilbert