Verse > Anthologies > Hunt and Lee, eds. > The Book of the Sonnet
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Hunt and Lee, comps.  The Book of the Sonnet.  1867.
 
I. The Village Benefactress
By Frederick Tennyson (1807–1898)
 
DEAR 1 Village Maid, who from thy little store,
  Of knowledge, and of riches, canst supply
  The flower and fruitage of humanity,
Balm for thyself, and comfort for the poor;
I never pass the woodbines round thy door        5
  But in my heart there swells a wistful sigh,—
  O, could I change all gauds of vanity
For peace like thine, increasing evermore!
By day thy sweet face, passing through the gate,
  Is welcome as the bounty-bearing light,        10
Thy frugal lamp is to the desolate
  A star of promise, dawning through the night;
O, if all hearts were only like to thine,
Night would not be, though stars should cease to shine!
 
Note 1. “Days and Hours,” by Frederick Tennyson, 1854. We have taken a liberty with the author, and with the reader, in calling these stanzas sonnets, and setting them forth in the present manner; for though sonnets they are in point of construction, after a favorite illegitimate fashion, yet the author does not so call them, nor in his pages are they thus distinguished by headings. They form portions, and not even consecutive portions, of a poem consisting of twelve of them, entitled Martha; so that perhaps we have wronged them in that respect also. But they so worthily record a beautiful character, and it is so pleasant to see the names of this family of poets in conjunction,—for Frederick Tennyson is a brother of the Laureate’s,—that, as he does not appear to have written any sonnets professed, we were tempted to bring him and his heroine into our volume in this manner. [back]
 
 
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