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.
 
960. Gulf Stream
 
By Sarah Chauncey Woolsey (“Susan Coolidge”)
 
 
LONELY and cold and fierce I keep my way,
  Scourge of the lands, companioned by the storm,
Tossing to heaven my frontlet, wild and gray,
  Mateless, yet conscious ever of a warm
And brooding presence close to mine all day.        5
 
What is this alien thing, so near, so far,
  Close to my life always, but blending never,—
Hemmed in by walls whose crystal gates unbar
  Not at the instance of my strong endeavor
To pierce the stronghold where their secrets are?        10
 
Buoyant, impalpable, relentless, thin,
  Rise the clear, mocking walls. I strive in vain
To reach the pulsing heart that beats within,
  Or, with persistence of a cold disdain,
To quell the gladness which I may not win.        15
 
Forever sundered and forever one,
  Linked by a bond whose spell I may not guess,
Our hostile yet embracing currents run;
  Such wedlock lonelier is than loneliness.
Baffled, withheld, I clasp the bride I shun.        20
 
Yet even in my wrath a wild regret
  Mingles; a bitterness of jealous strife
Tinges my fury as I foam and fret
  Against the borders of that calmer life,
Beside whose course my wrathful course is set.        25
 
But all my anger, all my pain and woe,
  Are vain to daunt her gladness; all the while
She goes rejoicing, and I do not know,
  Catching the soft irradiance of her smile,
If I am most her lover or her foe.        30
 

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