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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


By Sarah Chauncey Woolsey (Susan Coolidge) (1835–1905)

[Born in Cleveland, Ohio, 1835. Died in Newport, R. I., 1905. Verses. By Susan Coolidge. 1880.]

LONELY and cold and fierce I keep my way,

Scourge of the lands, companioned by the storm,

Tossing to heaven my frontlet, wild and gray,

Mateless, yet conscious ever of a warm

And brooding presence close to mine all day.

What is this alien thing, so near, so far,

Close to my life always, but blending never?

Hemmed in by walls whose crystal gates unbar

Not at the instance of my strong endeavor

To pierce the stronghold where their secrets are?

Buoyant, impalpable, relentless, thin,

Rise the clear, mocking walls. I strive in vain

To reach the pulsing heart that beats within,

Or with persistence of a cold disdain,

To quell the gladness which I may not win.

Forever sundered and forever one,

Linked by a bond whose spell I may not guess,

Our hostile, yet embracing currents run;

Such wedlock lonelier is than loneliness.

Baffled, withheld, I clasp the bride I shun.

Yet even in my wrath a wild regret

Mingles; a bitterness of jealous strife

Tinges my fury as I foam and fret

Against the borders of that calmer life,

Beside whose course my wrathful course is set.

But all my anger, all my pain and woe,

Are vain to daunt her gladness; all the while

She goes rejoicing, and I do not know,

Catching the soft irradiance of her smile,

If I am most her lover or her foe.