Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
42. Alice Ray
By Sarah Josepha Hale
THE BIRDS their love-notes warble
  Among the blossomed trees;
The flowers are sighing forth their sweets
  To wooing honey-bees;
The glad brook o’er a pebbly floor        5
  Goes dancing on its way,—
But not a thing is so like spring
  As happy Alice Ray.
An only child was Alice,
  And, like the blest above,        10
The gentle maid had ever breathed
  An atmosphere of love;
Her father’s smile like sunshine came,
  Like dew her mother’s kiss;
Their love and goodness made her home,        15
  Like heaven, the place of bliss.
Beneath such tender training,
  The joyous child had sprung,
Like one bright flower, in wild-wood bower,
  And gladness round her flung;        20
And all who met her blessed her,
And turned again to pray
That grief and care might ever spare
  The happy Alice Ray.
The gift that made her charming        25
  Was not from Venus caught;
Nor was it, Pallas-like, derived
  From majesty of thought;
Her heathful cheek was tinged with brown,
  Her hair without a curl—        30
But then her eyes were love-lit stars,
  Her teeth as pure as pearl.
And when in merry laughter
  Her sweet, clear voice was heard,
It welled from out her happy heart        35
  Like carol of a bird;
And all who heard were moved to smiles,
  As at some mirthful lay,
And to the stranger’s look replied,
  “’T is that dear Alice Ray.”        40
And so she came, like sunbeams
  That bring the April green;
As type of nature’s royalty,
  They called her “Woodburn’s queen!”
A sweet, heart-lifting cheerfulness,        45
  Like spring-time of the year,
Seemed ever on her steps to wait,—
  No wonder she was dear.
Her world was ever joyous—
  She thought of grief and pain        50
As giants in the olden time,
  That ne’er would come again;
The seasons all had charms for her,
  She welcomed each with joy,—
The charm that in her spirit lived        55
  No changes could destroy.
Her heart was like a fountain,
  The waters always sweet,—
Her pony in the pasture,
  The kitten at her feet,        60
The ruffling bird of Juno, and
  The wren in the old wall,
Each knew her loving carefulness,
  And came at her soft call.
Her love made all things lovely,        65
  For in the heart must live
The feeling that imparts the charm,—
  We gain by what we give.


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