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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 Harriet Prescott Spofford (1835–1921)

[From Poems. 1882.]

IF any woman of us all,

If any woman of the street,

Before the Lord should pause and fall,

And with her long hair wipe his feet;

He, whom with yearning hearts we love,

And fain would see with human eyes

Around our living pathway move,

And underneath our daily skies;

The Maker of the heavens and earth,

The Lord of life, the Lord of death,

In whom the universe had birth

But breathing of our breath one breath!—

If any woman of the street

Should kneel, and with the lifted mesh

Of her long tresses wipe his feet,

And with her kisses kiss their flesh,—

How round that woman would we throng!

How willingly would clasp her hands,

Fresh from that touch divine, and long

To gather up the twice-blest strands!

How eagerly with her would change

Our trivial innocence, nor heed

Her shameful memories and strange,

Could we but also claim that deed!