Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century
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Alfred H. Miles, ed.  Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
 
Poems.
XI. “One after One, the Shield, the Sword, the Spear”
By Frances Anne Kemble (1809–1893)
 
ONE after one, the shield, the sword, the spear,
The panoply that I was wont to wear,
My suit of proof, my wings that kept me free,
These, full of trust, delivered I to thee,
When, through all time, I swore that by thy side        5
I would henceforward walk:—I since have tried,
In hours of sadness, when my former life
Shone on me through thick gathering clouds of strife,
To wield my weapons bright, and wear again
My maiden corslet and free wings—in vain!        10
My hands have lost their strength and skill—my breast,
Beneath my mail throbs with a wild unrest;
My pinions trail upon the earth—my soul,
Quails ’neath the heavy spell of thy control.
All that was living of my life seems fled,        15
My mortal part alone is not yet dead.
But since my nobler gifts have all been thine,
Trophies, or sacrifices for thy shrine,
Pierce not the breast that stripped itself for thee
Of the fair means God gave it to be free;        20
Have yet some pity, and forbear to strike
One without power to strive, or fly alike,
Nor trample on a heart, which now must be
Towards all defenceless—most of all towards thee.
 
 
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