Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
850. When the Most Is Said
By Mary Ainge De Vere (“Madeline Bridges”)
WHAT ’S love, when the most is said? The flash of the lightning fleet,
Then, darkness that shrouds the soul,—but the earth is firm to my feet;
The rocks and the tides endure, the grasses and herbs return,
The path to my foot is sure, and the sods to my bosom yearn.
What ’s fame, when the truth is told? A shout to a distant hill,        5
The craigs may echo a while, but fainter, and fainter still;
Yet forever the wind blows wide the sweetness of all the skies,
The rain cries and the snow flies, and the storm in its bosom lies.
What ’s life, what ’s life, little heart? A dream when the nights are long,
Toil in the waking days,—tears, and a kiss, a song.        10
What ’s life, what ’s life, little heart? To beat and be glad of breath
While death waits on either side,—before and behind us, Death!


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