Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
876. Sonnets
By Caroline Atherton Mason

WOULD the lark sing the sweeter if he knew
A thousand hearts hung breathless on his lay?
And if “How fair!” the rose could hear us say,
Would she, her primal fairness to outdo,
Take on a richer scent, a lovelier hue?        5
Who knows or cares to answer yea or nay?
O tuneful lark! sail, singing, on your way,
Brimmed with excess of ecstasy; and you,
Sweet rose! renew with every perfect June
Your perfect blossoming! Still Nature-wise,        10
Sing, bloom, because ye must, and not for praise.
If only we, who covet the fair boon
Of well-earned fame, and wonder where it lies,
Would read the secret in your simple ways!

IF thou wert lying cold and still and white
In death’s embraces, O mine enemy!
I think that if I came and looked on thee,
I should forgive; that something in the sight
Of thy still face would conquer me, by right
Of death’s sad impotence, and I should see        20
How pitiful a thing it is to be
At feud with aught that ’s mortal. So tonight,
My soul, unfurling her white flag of peace,
Forestalling that dread hour when we may meet,—
The dead face and the living,—fain would cry,        25
Across the years, “Oh, let our warfare cease!
Life is so short, and hatred is not sweet;
Let there be peace between us ere we die!”


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