Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1861–1889
Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889
The Quiet Pilgrim
By Edith Matilda Thomas (1854–1925)
[From Lyrics and Sonnets. 1887.]

          What shall I say? He hath both spoken unto me, and Himself hath done it: I shall go softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul.—ISAIAH xxxviii. 15.

WHEN on my soul in nakedness
His swift, avertless hand did press,
Then I stood still, nor cried aloud,
Nor murmured low in ashes bowed;
And, since my woe is utterless,        5
To supreme quiet I am vowed;
Afar from me be moan and tears,—
I shall go softly all my years.
Whenso my quick, light-sandalled feet
Bring me where Joys and Pleasures meet,        10
I mingle with their throng at will;
They know me not an alien still,
Since neither words nor ways unsweet
Of storèd bitterness I spill;
Youth shuns me not, nor gladness fears,—        15
For I go softly all my years.
Whenso I come where Griefs convene,
And in my ear their voice is keen,
They know me not, as on I glide,
That with Arch Sorrow I abide.        20
They haggard are, and drooped of mien,
And round their brows have cypress tied:
Such shows I leave to light Grief’s peers,—
I shall go softly all my years.
Yea, softly! heart of hearts unknown.        25
Silence hath speech that passeth moan,
More piercing-keen than breathèd cries
To such as heed, made sorrow-wise.
But save this voice without a tone,
That runs before me to the skies,        30
And rings above thy ringing spheres,
Lord, I go softly all my years!

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