The Literary Maiden

A compendium of obscure 19th century writing.

“Verses for Easter” by W. H. C. Hosmer

Verses for Easter
William Howe Cuyler Hosmer
From Later Lays and Lyrics

“The ostrich leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in the dust.” Job—xxix : 14

———

I.
Unstudied verses let me weave,
While ring the bells of Easter Eve,
And eggs of many hues that gleam,
Gifts to the children, be my theme!

II.
By Job, that holy man of old,
Of the wild ostrich we are told,
Who hides beneath the covering sand,
Her bright eggs in a weary land,

III.
In grave unmarked by mortal eye,
In the mute dust, her treasures lie,
Until the desert sun imparts
A vital heat to embryo hearts.

IV.
Globed are the coffins that confine
Th’ unsheltered brood by law divine,
And after burial, all unheard
Is mourning by the mother-bird.

V.
When her maternal task is wrought
She speeds away by instinct taught
That One who marks the sparrow’s fall
Sepulchral seeds to life will call.

VI.
Types of the resurrection morn
Rise the young birdlings, desert-born,
And, though a mother’s care denied,
Eternal love will food provide.

VII.
Thus faith consigns, in holy trust,
Her loved and lost to burial dust,
Assured, though gone the quick’ning breath,
That endless life is born of death.

“The Fast Mail” by John E. Dolan

The Fast Mail
John E. Dolan
Unknown source (I found this poem pasted to a book board from the 1800s)

Now it thunders through the night,
Heralded by cone of light;
Trailing comet tail of smoke
Leaping to each piston stroke;
Every tortured nerve of steel
Strained to speed its driving wheel;
Freeing in its bowels of flame
Force that lived before man came;
Dragging in its roaring train
Hope and fear, and joy and pain,
Schemes most vile, and projects blessed,
News from Orient and West.
Pausing not to drop its load,
Rushing on its iron road,
Still it holds its headlong pace—
Symbol of a restless race!

“A Valentine” by Elizabeth F. Ellet

A Valentine
By Elizabeth Fries Ellet
From The Opal, 1849

When Memnon’s silent form the god of day,
Touched at his rising with his glance of fire,
A music as from harps that seraphs play
Thrilled soft and golden from that silent lyre.

All cold—the fable says—Pygmalion’s stone,
Till clasped the statue to the artist breast—
And life’s warm current, pouring from his own,
Weakened the statue from its soulless rest!

Thus dull and cold my heart—till inspiration,
Sweet lady, from your radiant smile it drew;
Ah, list the music of its low vibration—
It murmurs but one song—and sings of you!

“The Vision of the Doe” by Sir Oscar Oliphant

The Vision of the Doe
Sir Oscar Oliphant
From Collected Poems by Sir Oscar Oliphant

Methought I saw upon the green sward laid,
Where two broad rivers to the ocean wound,
A milk-white doe with golden antlers crown’d,
Shunning the hot sun ‘neath a laurel’s shade.
Such coy and gentle pride was in her air
I left all else to track her footsteps light,
Like the fond miser, who with the delight
Of seeking treasure sweetens all its care.
Around her lovely neck a legend strange
Was wrought with topazes and diamonds bright—
Let no one touch me: Free for aye to range
My Cæsar’s love hath given his favourite.

With tired yet sateless eyes I gazed till noon,
When in the stream I fell—and straight the doe was gone.

“A Common Scene” by Alfred B. Street

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John Frederick Kensett’s Summer Day on Consensus Lake

A Common Scene
Alfred B. Street
From The Poems of Alfred B. Street

The sky with silver throngs of sleeping clouds
Is spotted, and a harmony of hues
Azure and white, are there; a genial warmth
Burns in the sun glance; from that lowly vale
A smoke-wreath curls—a rustic chimney peeps
Through the thick foliage; in the furrowing field
The ploughman guides his team and whistles blithe;
Around the brink of that blue fairy lake
A laughing group of children stand to watch
That frail bark speeding with its tiny sail
Across the dimpling mirror; now it moors
Within yon knot of water-plants: from out
The tree that dances to the wind, a wren
Is warbling to its mate within a bush
The cattle lazily repose beneath
The meadow shade, or stoop to drink the rill
That freshens the green herbs. A summer scene
Common yet lovely.