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.
 
978. My Enemy
 
By Alice Williams Brotherton
 
 
I

MY foe was dark, and stern, and grim,
I lived my life in fear of him.
I passed no secret, darkened nook
Without a shuddering, furtive look,
Lest he should take me unawares        5
In some one of his subtle snares.
Even in broad noon the thought of him
Turned all the blessed sunlight dim,
Stole the rich color from the rose,
The perfume from the elder-blows.        10
 
I saw him not, I heard no sound;
But traces everywhere I found
Of his fell plotting. Now, the flower
Most prized lay blasted by his power;
From the locked casket, rent apart,        15
The jewel dearest to my heart
Was stolen; or, from out the dark,
Some swift blow made my heart its mark.
 
Sweet eyes I loved grew glazed and dim
That had but caught a glimpse of him;        20
And ears, were wont to hear each sigh
Of mine, were deafened utterly,
Even to my shrieks; and lips I pressed
Struck a cold horror to my breast.
  This hath he done, my enemy.        25
  From him, O God, deliver me!
 
II

I reached but now this place of gloom
Through yon small gateway, where is room
For only one to pass. This calm
Is healing as a Sabbath psalm.        30
A sound, as if the hard earth slid
Down-rattling on a coffin-lid,
Was in mine ears. Now all is still,
And I am free to fare at will—
Whither? I seem but tarrying        35
For one who doth a message bring.
 
Who meets me in the way, whose face
Is radiant with an angel’s grace?
Smiling, he saith in underbreath:
“I am thy foe long dreaded,—Death.”        40
“O Death, sweet Death, and is it thou
I called mine enemy but now?”
I place my trusting palms in his,
And lift my chill lips for his kiss.
“Press close, be near me to the end,        45
When all are fled, my one true friend!”
 
“Yea, friend,” he answereth. “All, and more
Than all I took, do I restore—
Blossom and jewel, youth and hope;
And see, this little key doth ope        50
The shining portal that we see,
Beyond which—love awaiteth thee.”
  “O blinded eyes! Ah, foolish heart!
  Adieu, dear Death—one kiss! We part.”
 

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