The Literary Maiden

A compendium of obscure 19th century writing.

Taking a Break

Hi, folks. I’ll be on hiatus again for an indefinite amount of time. In the meantime, look forward to some poems I’ve pre-scheduled to post within the next few months. Until then!

“Sonnet: ‘Some Fell by the Wayside'” by Elizabeth Oakes Smith

Sonnet: “Some Fell by the Wayside”
Also known as “The Pilgrim”
Elizabeth Oakes Smith
From Graham’s Magazine, April, 1844, pg. 150

Not yet, not yet, oh pilgrim! cast aside
The dusty sandal, and the well-worn staff;
Athirst and fainting, yet must thou abide
One peril more—and strength in thy behalf
Shall once again be born—it is the last!
Thou sinkest by the lonely wayside down,
And life, o’erspent and weary, ebbeth past.
The lengthening shadows on thy path are thrown,
And thou wouldst rest, forgetful of life’s dream,
Deluding, vain, and empty, and here die.
Not yet! not yet! there still is left one gleam
To onward lure thy too despairing eye;
Gird on thy staff, the shrine is yet unworn;
Oh! lose not thou the prize, by this last work undone.

“A Dream” by A Myth

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From the Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, Vol. 61, pg. 282.

A Dream.
By A Myth
From the Knickerbocker, Vol. 49, March, 1857, pg. 240.

I.
AMONG the tombs at mid-night
I paced with noiseless tread;
A starless sky above me,
Around, the silent dead.

II.
I sat me down upon a grave,
And heard the wind’s low sigh
As fitfully and mournfully
It still went wailing by.

III.
It seemed to sing a requiem
For the peaceful, quiet dead;
The heavens were clothed in mourning,
The gloomy heavens o’er head.

IV.
From the belfry of the minster
I heard a creaking sound:
A moment and it woke to life
The dead that slept around.

V.
I saw them in their grave-clothes,
Their faces wan and pale,
They looked so light and fragile,
The dead they looked so frail.

VI.
They flitted by like shadows,
Like shadows on the wall;
O’er the tangled grass they tripped,
As in some marble hall.

VII.
But slowly light fell on them,
They vanished as a dream,
For through my chamber window
Came the sun’s bright morning beam.

“The Harvest Moon” by Herbert Randall

The Harvest Moon
By Herbert Randall
From the Connecticut Magazine, Vol. 6, July-August, 1900, pg. 347

On the marge of the suburnt meadow
The dusk came a-drifting in.
It covered the glow of twilight;
The dream-weavers hushed their din
Of work at the looms of autumn,
And one by one dropt to sleep,
Till the last of their drowsy murmurs
Died into the greying deep.

Then far in the hanging distance
Appeared in the lonely air
A vision of wond’rous glory.
Upheld in the darkness there.
It smiled on the dying summer,
That wrapt like a dreamer lay;
Then up thro’ the smoky heavens
Away on its quest, away—

Up, up thro’ the trackless ether—
On, on, thro’ the vast of night
It moved like a fearless spirit,
Impelled by its own wan light.
It made not a rift in the stillness—
No rift in the great deep sky;
But the song of the wakeful pleiad
As the wanderer passed them by

Was one of an apple harvest—
Of solace and joy supreme;
The pines in the forest listened,
The elms by the shining stream
Slept, nursed by the brooding silence,
And a voice that awoke in me
Filled my soul with a quiet yearning
For the calm of eternity.

“Shadows” from the Knickerbocker

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Portion of illustration from Andersen’s Tales for Children, translated by Alfred Wehnert, 1869, pg. 278.

Shadows.
From the Knickerbocker, Volume 51, January, 1858, pg. 10.

THE shadows which at sun-set flit
Across my room with noiseless wings,
I know not why, but yet to me
They seem like living things:

I feel that they are living forms,
From earthly grossness free:
The kindred of my soul they seem,
Come back to visit me:

The sun sinks down, they flee away
Through the unopened door;
They leave behind no change of form,
No foot-prints on the floor.

Oh! ever since my friend has lain
In her dark, silent tomb,
I’ve wished that I might steal from life,
As shadows from my room.

Yellow Springs, (O.,) Dec. 4th, 1857.

“The Ghosts” from the Knickerbocker

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Illustrations by Irving Montagu from the Strand Magazine, Volume 2, pg. 572.

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The Ghosts
From the Knickerbocker, Volume 53, January, 1859, pg. 40.

Pale shapes advancing from the mid-night air,
Beckoning with misty fingers round my bed,
Bending your faded faces o’er my head,
I have no fear of ye! I seem to share
Your dim vitality—mine’s well-nigh fled.
I feel the human outlines melt away;
Those thin, gray hands that lie on the damp sheet
Are almost vapory enough to meet
Yours in the grasp of fellowship. My hair
Seems turning into cloud. The quickened clay
That walls me in is cracking, and I strive
Towards ye through the breach. Am I alive?
Or are ye dead? All’s vague—a wide, gray sea.
Hark! the cock crows! Now, spirits, welcome me!