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.
 
848. Faith Trembling
 
By Mary Ainge De Vere (“Madeline Bridges”)
 
 
WERE I a happy bird,
    Building my little nest each early spring,
It might be easy then to keep God’s word,
    His praise to sing;
Easy to live content,        5
    Tending my little ones,—of love secure,
Knowing no agony for time misspent,
    Or thought impure!
 
Were I a butterfly,
    A bright-winged creature of the sunshine born,        10
Idle and lovely I could live and die
    Without self-scorn;
I need not fear
    To take my utmost will of summer sweet;
Nor dread, when the swift end came near,        15
    My Judge to meet!
 
If I were only made
    Patient, and calm, and pure, as angels are,
I had not been so doubtful,—sore afraid
    Of sin and care;        20
It would seem sweet and good
    To bear the heavy cross that martyrs take,
The passion and the pain of womanhood
    For my Lord’s sake.
 
But strong, and fair, and young,        25
    I dread my glowing limbs,—my heart of fire,
My soul that trembles like a harp full strung
    To keen desire!
O, wild and idle words!
    Will God’s large charity and patience be        30
Given unto butterflies and singing birds,
    And not to me?
 

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