Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
The Gifts
By Sarah J. Hale (1788–1879)
 
LADY, I ’ve climb’d the mountain side,
  And roam’d the flowery lea,
And gather’d the garden’s glowing pride,
And the rose and lily in soft bands tied,
  A garland meet for thee.        5
 
O the wreath is fair—but fairest flowers
  They fade too easily!
And they fold their leaves at evening hours,
And they droop and die when the tempest lowers,
  Then offer not flowers to me.        10
 
Lady, earth’s richest mines I ’ve sought,
  And search’d the deep blue sea,
Where coral caves are with gems inwrought,
And these diamonds pure, and pearls I ’ve brought,
  As fitting gifts for thee.        15
 
O, those are gifts the great demand,
  They are offer’d on bended knee,
With a grudging heart by the servile band,
A tribute or bribe to the tyrant’s hand,
  Then offer not pearls to me.        20
 
Lady, this glittering star to gain,
  The price of victory,
I rush’d upon the battle plain,
And traced my path by the heaps of slain—
  This star I ’ll pledge to thee.        25
 
O, titled fame! an airy word,
  A puff of vanity!
Ah, think what crimson streams are pour’d,
That man, weak man, may be hail’d a Lord!
  Then offer not rank to me.        30
 
Lady, I have a heart as pure
  As the birthright of the free:
And the faith I vow will for aye endure,
And my love as flowers to the spring is sure;—
  This heart I ’ll give to thee.        35
 
O, ’t is now thy words have power to move!
  My warm tears speak for me;
For on earth below, or in heaven above,
The richest gift is the heart of love—
  And here ’s a heart for thee!        40
 
 
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