Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1835–1860
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. VI–VIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 1835–1860
 
Mercedes
By Elizabeth Drew Barstow Stoddard (1823–1902)
 
[Born in Mattapoisset, Mass., 1823. Died, 1902.]

UNDER a sultry, yellow sky,
On the yellow sand I lie;
The crinkled vapors smite my brain,
I smoulder in a fiery pain.
 
Above the crags the condor flies,—        5
He knows where the red gold lies,
He knows where the diamonds shine:
If I knew, would she be mine?
 
Mercedes in her hammock swings,—
In her court a palm-tree flings        10
Its slender shadow on the ground,
The fountain falls with silver sound.
 
Her lips are like this cactus cup,—
With my hand I crush it up,
I tear its flaming leaves apart:—        15
Would that I could tear her heart!
 
Last night a man was at her gate;
In the hedge I lay in wait;
I saw Mercedes meet him there,
By the fire-flies in her hair.        20
 
I waited till the break of day,
Then I rose and stole away;
But left my dagger in her gate:—
Now she knows her lover’s fate.
 
 
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