Menella Bute Smedley

Maidenhood

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Her heart is light, her fancy free,
Her morn of womanhood,
Fresh as the wind that curls the sea,
Is chainless and unwoo'd;
The thoughts her bosom's realm that fill
Are vassals only of her will.
Her soul flings wide a hundred gates
Wide as their span can reach,
For universal beauty waits
To enter in through each;
The mighty tome of earth and skies
She ponders with delighted eyes.
And all serene and holy loves
Are tenants of her breast,
Separate yet close, like brooding doves,
Each on its own dear nest;
Most sweet and precious are the things
Which grow beneath their folded wings.

If sorrow's sudden wind profanes
The garden of her bliss,
Her taught and guarded spirit gains
A blessing e'en from this;
As from Bethesda's troubled wave
An angel rose to heal and save.
Or if some bright deluding dream
Her peace of mind betray,
As glaciers in the sunlight gleam
Only to melt away,
If rainbow-hopes, that shine and die,
Give place to pale reality,
If longings wild and vain oppress
Her scarce resisting will,
Till earth seems one wide wilderness,
And love itself grows chill;
These are a sickness of the heart,—
Health will return, and these depart.
The circle of her home's calm shade
Is all her heart can crave;
Life seems a shelter'd green arcade,
And, at its end, a grave,
Where beckoning Faith, with upward eyes,
Stands, just descended from the skies.

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Menella Bute Smedley