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.
 
1156. The Heaviest Cross of All
 
By Katherine Eleanor Conway
 
 
I ’VE borne full many a sorrow, I ’ve suffered many a loss—
But now, with a strange, new anguish, I carry this last dread cross;
For of this be sure, my dearest, whatever thy life befall,
The cross that our own hands fashion is the heaviest cross of all.
 
Heavy and hard I made it in the days of my fair strong youth,        5
Veiling mine eyes from the blessed light, and closing my heart to truth.
Pity me, Lord, whose mercy passeth my wildest thought,
For I never dreamed of the bitter end the work my hands had wrought!
 
In the sweet morn’s flush and fragrance I wandered o’er dewy meadows,
And I hid from the fervid noontide glow in the cool green woodland shadows;        10
And I never recked, as I sang aloud in my wilful, selfish glee,
Of the mighty woe that was drawing nigh to darken the world for me.
 
But it came at last, my dearest,—what need to tell thee how?
Mayst never know of the wild, wild woe that my heart is bearing now!
Over my summer’s glory crept a damp and chilling shade,        15
And I staggered under the heavy cross that my sinful hands had made.
 
I go where the shadows deepen, and the end seems far off yet—
God keep thee safe from the sharing of this woeful late regret!
For of this be sure, my dearest, whatever thy life befall,
The crosses we make for ourselves, alas! are the heaviest ones of all.        20
 

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