The Literary Maiden

A compendium of obscure 19th century writing.

“Autumn Days” by Jones Very

Autumn Days.
By Jones Very
From Poems by Jones Very

THE winds are out with loud increasing shout,
Where late before them walked the biting frost,
Whirling the leaves in their wild sport about,
And twig and limb athwart our path are tost.
But still the sun looks kindly on the year,
And days of summer warmth will linger yet;
And still the birds amid the fields we hear,
For the ripe grain and scattered seeds they get.
The shortening days grow slowly less and less,
And Winter comes with many a warning on;
And still some day with kindly smile will bless,
Till the last hope’s deceit is fledged and gone,
Before the deepening snows block up the way,
And the sweet fields are made of howling blasts
the prey.

“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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.