Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
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John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
 
Appendix II. Poems Printed in the ‘Life of Whittier’
Letter to Lucy Larcom
 
25th 3d mo., 1866.    
BELIEVE me, Lucy Larcom, it gives me real sorrow
That I cannot take my carpet-bag and go to town to-morrow;
But I ’m “snow-bound,” and cold on cold, like layers of an onion,
Have piled my back and weighed me down as with the pack of Bunyan.
The north-east wind is damper and the north-west wind is colder,        5
Or else the matter simply is that I am growing older.
And then I dare not trust a moon seen over one’s left shoulder,
As I saw this with slender horns caught in a west hill pine,
As on a Stamboul minaret curves the arch-impostor’s sign,—
So I must stay in Amesbury, and let you go your way,        10
And guess what colors greet your eyes, what shapes your steps delay;
What pictured forms of heathen lore, of god and goddess please you,
What idol graven images you bend your wicked knees to.
But why should I of evil dream, well knowing at your head goes
That flower of Christian womanhood, our dear good Anna Meadows.        15
She ’ll be discreet, I ’m sure, although once, in a freak romantic,
She flung the Doge’s bridal ring, and married “The Atlantic”!
And spite of all appearances, like the woman in a shoe,
She ’s got so many “Young Folks” now, she don’t know what to do.
But I must say I think it strange that thee and Mrs. Spaulding,        20
Whose lives with Calvin’s five-railed creed have been so tightly walled in,
Should quit your Puritan homes, and take the pains to go
So far, with malice aforethought, to “walk in a vain show”!
Did Emmons hunt for pictures? Was Jonathan Edwards peeping
Into the chambers of imagery, with maids for Tammuz weeping?        25
Ah well! the times are sadly changed, and I myself am feeling
The wicked world my Quaker coat from off my shoulders peeling.
God grant that in the strange new sea of change wherein we swim,
We still may keep the good old plank, of simple faith in Him!
 
 
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