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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

What Is Happiness?

By Joseph Brown Ladd (1764–1786)

[Born in Newport, R. I., 1764. Died at Charleston, S. C., 1786. The Poems of Arouet. 1786.]

’TIS an empty, fleeting shade,

By imagination made:

’Tis a bubble, straw, or worse

’Tis a baby’s hobby-horse:

’Tis two hundred shillings clear;

’Tis ten thousand pounds a year:

’Tis a title, ’tis a name;

’Tis a puff of empty fame;

Fickle as the breezes blow;

’Tis a lady’s yes or no!

And when the description’s crowned,

’Tis just nowhere to be found.

Arouet shows, I must confess,

Says Delia, what is happiness;

I wish he now would tell us what

This self-same happiness is not.

What happiness is not? I vow,

That, Delia, you have posed me now:

What it is not—stay, let me see—

I think, dear maid, ’tis—not for me.