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
 
A Woman
By Bayard Taylor (1825–1878)
 
[Born in Kennett Square, Chester Co., Penn., 1825. Died in Berlin, Germany, 1878. The Poet’s Journal. 1862.—Poetical Works. Household Edition. 1883.]

SHE is a woman: therefore, I a man,
  In so much as I love her. Could I more,
Then I were more a man. Our natures ran
  Together, brimming full, not flooding o’er
The banks of life, and evermore will run        5
In one full stream until our days are done.
 
She is a woman, but of spirit brave
  To bear the loss of girlhood’s giddy dreams;
The regal mistress, not the yielding slave
  Of her ideal, spurning that which seems        10
For that which is, and, as her fancies fall,
Smiling: the truth of love outweighs them all.
 
She looks through life, and with a balance just
  Weighs men and things, beholding as they are
The lives of others: in the common dust        15
  She finds the fragments of the ruined star:
Proud, with a pride all feminine and sweet,
No path can soil the whiteness of her feet.
 
The steady candor of her gentle eyes
  Strikes dead deceit, laughs vanity away;        20
She hath no room for petty jealousies,
  Where Faith and Love divide their tender sway.
Of either sex she owns the nobler part;
Man’s honest brow and woman’s faithful heart.
 
She is a woman, who, if Love were guide,        25
  Would climb to power, or in obscure content
Sit down: accepting fate with changeless pride—
  A reed in calm, in storm a staff unbent:
No pretty plaything, ignorant of life,
But Man’s true mother, and his equal wife.        30
 
 
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