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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 Mary Mapes Dodge (1831–1905)

SWIFT o’er the sunny grass,

I saw a shadow pass

With subtle charm;

So quick, so full of life,

With thrilling joy so rife,

I started lest, unknown,

My step—ere it was flown—

Had done it harm.

Why look up to the blue?

The bird was gone, I knew,

Far out of sight.

Steady and keen of wing,

The slight, impassioned thing,

Intent on a goal unknown,

Had held its course alone

In silent flight.

Dear little bird, and fleet,

Flinging down at my feet

Shadow for song:

More sure am I of thee—

Unseen, unheard by me—

Than of some things felt and known,

And guarded as my own,

All my life long.