“To Elizabeth” by Charles Lane
Here we have a simple poem written by the 19th century Transcendentalist Charles Lane. Lane was friends (rather acquaintances after all was said and done) with Amos Bronson Alcott, who is best known as being the father of Little Women author Louisa May Alcott.
I find this poem to be of particular importance as we receive a glimpse of Lane’s poetic voice. This poem was dedicated to Elizabeth Alcott, or “Lizzie,” on her birthday, and was written during the family’s stay at the Fruitlands.*
*A failed Utopian communal living experiment. Lane and Alcott were hopeful when they first established the community; however, towards the end of its short run, enmity grew between the two and their friendship was nearly severed.
From Bronson Alcott’s Fruitlands, compiled and edited by Clara Endicott Sears
Of all the year the sunniest day
Appointed for thy birth
Is emblem of the longest stay
With us upon the earth.
Now dressed in flowers
The merry hours
Fill up the day and night.
May your whole life
Exempt from strife
Shine forth as calm and bright.