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.
 
572. Helen Keller
 
By Edmund Clarence Stedman
 
 
    MUTE, sightless visitant,
    From what uncharted world
Hast voyaged into Life’s rude sea,
      With guidance scant;
As if some bark mysteriously        5
Should hither glide, with spars aslant
      And sails all furled!
 
    In what perpetual dawn,
    Child of the spotless brow,
Hast kept thy spirit far withdrawn—        10
    Thy birthright undefiled?
What views to thy sealed eyes appear?
    What voices mayst thou hear
    Speak as we know not how?
    Of grief and sin hast thou,        15
      O radiant child,
Even thou, a share? Can mortal taint
  Have power on thee unfearing
  The woes our sight, our hearing,
Learn from Earth’s crime and plaint?        20
 
      Not as we see
Earth, sky, insensate forms, ourselves,
    Thou seest,—but vision-free
    Thy fancy soars and delves,
Albeit no sounds to us relate        25
      The wondrous things
    Thy brave imaginings
Within their starry night create.
 
    Pity thy unconfined
Clear spirit, whose enfranchised eyes        30
    Use not their grosser sense?
Ah, no! thy bright intelligence
    Hath its own Paradise,
A realm wherein to hear and see
    Things hidden from our kind.        35
    Not thou, not thou—’t is we
    Are deaf, are dumb, are blind!
1888.
 

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