Elizabeth Oakes Smith (1806-1893)
Read a biography of Elizabeth Oakes Smith at Edgar Allan Poe's Literary Neighborhood.
When thou didst leave me, Hope, why didst thou not,
In place of thy sweet presence leave Despair,
With her grim visage and distorted hair?
The past, the future, then had been forgot--
The soul, concentred on its blasted lot,
Had rested mute and desolate of care--
Had ceased to question where its treasures were,
And roamed no more the melancholy spot.
But now, too much remembering of the past
So huge the weight of gloom around me spread
That I, like one within a charnel cast,
Hear but the dirges ringing for the dead--
Feel all the pangs of life, and thought, and breath,
Yet walk I all the time with hand in hand of Death.
(Text from American Sonnets)
A Summer Morning Picture
The Sabbath morning from the night awoke
All sunshine crowned: rough men disdaining toil
Had cleared their brows from work-day's hardening moil
And by the fountain left the cove'd yoke.
Through morning-glory and the hollyhock,
And rich nasturtium, shading with their coil
The cottage window, and the heated soil,
Aslant the white board floor the sunshine broke,
And left a flowery tracery in the sheen.
This inward gleam the children newly kempt,
And genial matron, calm from work-day ways,
Who sits with stately grace her flock between
And sings a Sabbath hymm, meseems, exempt
Like these from strife, Seraphim Legions join the praise.
A simple thing, yet chancing as it did,
When life was bright with its illusive dreams,
A pledge and promise seemed beneath it hid
The ocean lay before me, tinged with beams
That lingering draped the west, a wavering stir;
And at my feet down fell a worn gray quill:
And eagle, high above the darkling fir,
With steady flight, seemed there to take his fill
Of that pure ether breathed by him alone.
O noble bird! why didst thou loose for me
Thy eagle plume? still unessayed, unknown,
Must be that pathway fearless winged by thee:
I ask it not, no lofty flight be mine;
I would not soar like thee, in loneliness to pine!