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 William Ellery Channing (1818–1901)

[From Poems. 1843.—Poems. Second Series. 1847.]

EDITH, the silent stars are coldly gleaming,

The night wind moans, the leafless trees are still.

Edith, there is a life beyond this seeming,

So sleeps the ice-clad lake beneath thy hill.

So silent beats the pulse of thy pure heart,

So shines the thought of thy unquestioned eyes.

O life! why wert thou helpless in thy art?

O loveliness! why seem’st thou but surprise?

Edith, the streamlets laugh to leap again;

There is a spring to which life’s pulses fly;

And hopes that are not all the sport of pain,

Like lustres in the veil of that gray eye.

They say the thankless stars have answering vision,

That courage sings from out the frost-bound ways;

Edith, I grant that olden time’s decision—

Thy beauty paints with gold the icy rays.

As in the summer’s heat her promise lies,

As in the autumn’s seed his vintage hides,

Thus might I shape my moral from those eyes,

Glass of thy soul, where innocence abides.

Edith, thy nature breathes of answered praying;

If thou dost live, then not my grief is vain;

Beyond the nerves of woe, beyond delaying,

Thy sweetness stills to rest the winter’s pain.