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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

An Autumn Violet

By Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward (1844–1911)

[Born in Boston, Mass., 1844. Died in Newton, Mass., 1911. Poetic Studies. 1875.—Songs of the Silent World. 1885.]

I SAW a miracle to-day!

Where the September sunshine lay

Languidly as a lost desire

Upon a sumach’s fading fire,

Where calm some pallid asters trod,

Indifferent, past a golden-rod,

Beside a gray-haired thistle set—

A perfect purple violet.

I wonder what it were to miss

The life of spring, and live like this?

To bloom so lone, to bloom so late,

And were it worth the while to wait

So long for such a little day?

And were it not a better way

Never, indeed (worse might befall),

To be a violet at all?

So lonely when the spring was gone,

So calm when autumn splendors shone,

So peaceful midst the blazing flowers,

So blessèd through the golden hours,

So might have bloomed my love for thee.

It is not, and it cannot be,—

It cannot, must not be,—and yet,

I picked for thee the violet.