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.
 
53. The Soul’s Defiance
 
By Lavinia Stoddard
 
 
I SAID to Sorrow’s awful storm,
  That beat against my breast,
Rage on—thou may’st destroy this form,
  And lay it low at rest;
But still the spirit that now brooks        5
  Thy tempest, raging high,
Undaunted on its fury looks
  With steadfast eye.
 
I said to Penury’s meagre train,
  Come on—your threats I brave;        10
My last poor life-drop you may drain,
  And crush me to the grave;
Yet still the spirit that endures
  Shall mock your force the while,
And meet each cold, cold grasp of yours        15
  With bitter smile.
 
I said to cold Neglect and Scorn,
  Pass on—I heed you not;
Ye may pursue me till my form
  And being are forgot;        20
Yet still the spirit, which you see
  Undaunted by your wiles,
Draws from its own nobility
  Its high-born smiles.
 
I said to Friendship’s menaced blow,        25
  Strike deep—my heart shall bear;
Thou canst but add one bitter woe
  To those already there;
Yet still the spirit that sustains
  This last severe distress        30
Shall smile upon its keenest pains,
  And scorn redress.
 
I said to Death’s uplifted dart,
  Aim sure—oh, why delay?
Thou wilt not find a fearful heart—        35
  A weak, reluctant prey;
For still the spirit, firm and free,
  Unruffled by this last dismay,
Wrapt in its own eternity,
  Shall pass away.        40
 

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