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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

In the Dark

By Frances Louisa Bushnell

[Born in Hartford, Conn. The Atlantic Monthly. 1872.]

RESTLESS, to-night, and ill at ease,

And finding every place too strait,

I leave the porch shut in with trees,

And wander through the garden-gate.

So dark at first, I have to feel

My way before me with my hands;

But soul-like fragrances reveal

My virgin Daphne, where she stands.

Her stars of blossom breathe aloft

Her worship to the stars above;

In wavering pulsations soft,

Climbs the sweet incense of her love;

Those far, celestial eyes can dart

Their glances down through leafy bars;

The spark that burns within her heart

Was dropped, in answer, from the stars.

She does not find the space too small,

The night too dark, for sweetest bloom;

Content within the garden wall,

Since upward there is always room.

Her spotless heart, through all the night,

Holds safe its little vestal spark.

O blessed, if the soul be white,

To breathe and blossom in the dark!