Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
Sonnets from “A Lover’s Diary.” II. A Woman’s Hand
 
Sir Gilbert Parker (1862–1932)
 
 
I
NONE ever climbed to mountain height of song,
But felt the touch of some good woman’s palm;
None ever reached God’s altitude of calm,
But heard one voice cry, “Follow!” from the throng.
I would not place her as an image high        5
Above my reach, cold, in some dim recess,
Where never she should feel a warm caress
Of this my hand that serves her till I die.
I would not set her higher than my heart,—
Though she is nobler than I e’er can be,—        10
Because she placed me from the crowd apart,
And with her tenderness she honored me.
Because of this, I hold me worthier
To be her kinsman, while I worship her.
 
II
A WOMAN’S hand. Lo, I am thankful now
        15
That with its touch I have walked all my days;
Rising from fateful and forbidden ways,
To find a woman’s hand upon my brow,
Soft as a pad of rose-leaves, and as pure
As upraised palms of angels, seen in dreams:        20
And soothed by it, to stand as it beseems
A man who strives to conquer and endure.
A woman’s hand!—There is no better thing
Of all things human; it is half divine;
It hath been more to this lame life of mine,        25
When faith was weakness, and despair was king.
Man more than all men, Thou wast glad to bless
A woman’s sacrifice and tenderness.
 

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