Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
1731. The Journey
By Mary Berri (Chapman) Hansbrough
RELUCTANTLY I laid aside my smiles,
Those little, pleasing knickknacks of the face,
And dropped the words accustomed to my tongue,
And took just half a breath in breathing’s space;
And then I drew the curtains of my eyes        5
And ceased to move, and rallied all my thought,
Selecting all the verity that lies
Through daily life, with false pretences fraught;
I sorted and arranged and packed my hope
And my despair together, in my heart;        10
I tied the strings and sealed the envelope
In which ambition, stifled, used to smart;
Took out my conscience—long since laid away—
And shook it, folded it, with thoughts like tears;
Revised my errors, sorted out the years        15
When doubt and egotism held their sway;
All this I did the night I heard them say
Beside the pillow, “She will die at dawn”—
And then they wept and called me by my name:
I would have liked to soothe them, but in vain—        20
I had so very little time to stay,
And so much packing to be done before
I put my fires out and closed my door
To catch the stage-coach which would pass that way
At dawn, and bear me down eternity.        25
I hurried—and grew weary and turned weak—
The time drew near,—oh, how I longed to speak
And tell them I was sorry to have been
So great a trouble; then a distant din,
A muffled rumble, and the coach drew near;        30
One weary moment, it will soon be here!
I sighed, and sank and dreamed myself away,
And then “Thank God, thank God!” I heard them say,
While with a pang, half wonderment, half pain,
I woke—and found the coach had missed the train!        35


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