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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

The Quiet Pilgrim

By Edith Matilda Thomas (1854–1925)

[From Lyrics and Sonnets. 1887.]

  • What shall I say? He hath both spoken unto me, and Himself hath done it: I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul.—ISAIAH xxxviii. 15.

  • WHEN on my soul in nakedness

    His swift, avertless hand did press,

    Then I stood still, nor cried aloud,

    Nor murmured low in ashes bowed;

    And, since my woe is utterless,

    To supreme quiet I am vowed;

    Afar from me be moan and tears,—

    I shall go softly all my years.

    Whenso my quick, light-sandalled feet

    Bring me where Joys and Pleasures meet,

    I mingle with their throng at will;

    They know me not an alien still,

    Since neither words nor ways unsweet

    Of storèd bitterness I spill;

    Youth shuns me not, nor gladness fears,—

    For I go softly all my years.

    Whenso I come where Griefs convene,

    And in my ear their voice is keen,

    They know me not, as on I glide,

    That with Arch Sorrow I abide.

    They haggard are, and drooped of mien,

    And round their brows have cypress tied:

    Such shows I leave to light Grief’s peers,—

    I shall go softly all my years.

    Yea, softly! heart of hearts unknown.

    Silence hath speech that passeth moan,

    More piercing-keen than breathèd cries

    To such as heed, made sorrow-wise.

    But save this voice without a tone,

    That runs before me to the skies,

    And rings above thy ringing spheres,

    Lord, I go softly all my years!