Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
1737. Gentian
 
By Elizabeth Green Crane
 
 
SO all day long I followed through the fields
  The voice of Autumn, calling from afar;
And now I thought: “Yon hazel thicket yields
  A glimpse of her,” and now: “These asters are
Sure sign that she of late has passed this way;        5
  Lo! here the traces of her yellow car.”
 
And once I looked and seemed to see her stand
  Beneath a golden maple’s black-drawn boughs;
But when I reached the place, naught but a band
  Of crickets did perform their tuneful vows        10
To the soon fading grass, and through the leaves
  The quiet sunlight, falling, blessed my brows.
 
Till, as the long rays lengthened from the west,
  I came upon an altar of gray stone,
O’er which a creeper flung with pious zest        15
  Her flickering flames. About that altar lone,
The crowding sumac burned with steady fire;
  Before it, stately, stood a priestess; one
 
Who turned to me her melancholy eyes.
  I saw her beauty, ripe with color’s breath,        20
Yet veiled, as when on wood and hill there lies
  A mist, a shadow, as of coming death.
And while I gazed she faded; swift I clutched
  Her fringëd cloak, which rent, my grasp beneath.
 
And she was gone. As fluttered to the ground        25
  Its many fragments, I with sudden fears,
Stooped, vainly seeking them, when all around
  The blue fringed gentian smiled up through my tears,
As one who knows his welcome will be warm,
  Although sad news to his beloved he bears.        30
 

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