Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
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James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
 
February 13
Only a Woman’s Hair
By James Ashcroft Noble (1844–1896)
 
        
“Only a woman’s hair.”—Swift.
  It was stated that after Richard Wagner’s death, Feb. 13, 1883, his wife cut off her beautiful hair which he had so admired and placed it in a red cushion under his head in his coffin.

“ONLY a women’s hair!” We may not guess
  If ’twere a mocking sneer or the sharp cry
  Of a great heart’s o’ermastering agony
That spake in these four words. Nevertheless,
One thing we know—that the long clinging tress        5
  Had lived with Stella’s life in days gone by,
  And, she being dead, lived on to testify
Of love’s victorious everlastingness.
 
Such love, O mute musician, doth provide
  For thy dear head’s repose a pillow rare:        10
With red of heart’s blood is the covering dyed,
  And underneath—canst thou not feel it there?—
The rippling wavy wealth that was thy pride,
  Now love’s last gift—only a woman’s hair!
 
 
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