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


By Lizette Woodworth Reese (1856–1935)

[Born in Waverly, Md., 1856. Died in Baltimore, Md., 1935. A Branch of May. Poems. 1887.]

Sudbury Meeting-house, 1653.

HER eyes be like the violets,

Ablow in Sudbury lane;

When she doth smile, her face is sweet

As blossoms after rain;

With grief I think of my gray hairs,

And wish me young again.

In comes she through the dark old door

Upon this Sabbath day;

And she doth bring the tender wind

That sings in bush and spray,

And hints of all the apple boughs

That kissed her by the way.

Our parson stands up straight and tall,

For our dear souls to pray,

And of the place where sinners go

Some grewsome things doth say;

Now she is highest Heaven to me;

So Hell is far away.

Most stiff and still the good folk sit

To hear the sermon through;

But if our God be such a God,

And if these things be true,

Why did He make her then so fair,

And both her eyes so blue?

A flickering light, the sun creeps in,

And finds her sitting there;

And touches soft her lilac gown,

And soft her yellow hair;

I look across to that old pew,

And have both praise and prayer.

Oh, violets in Sudbury lane,

Amid the grasses green,

This maid who stirs ye with her feet

Is far more fair, I ween!

I wonder how my forty years

Look by her sweet sixteen!