Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1861–1889
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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
 
What have I Done?
By Lillien Blanche Fearing (1863–1901)
 
[Born in Davenport, Iowa, 1863. Died in Chicago, Ill., 1901.]

I LAY my finger on Time’s wrist to score
  The forward-surging moments as they roll;
Each pulse seems quicker than the one before,
  And lo! my days pile up against my soul
As clouds pile up against the golden sun:        5
Alas! what have I done? what have I done?
 
I never steep the rosy hours in sleep,
  Or hide my soul as in a gloomy crypt;
No idle hands into my bosom creep;
  And yet, as water-drops from house-eaves drip,        10
So, viewless, melt my days, and from me run:
Alas! what have I done? what have I done?
 
I have not missed the fragrance of the flowers,
  Or scorned the music of the flowing rills
Whose numerous liquid tongues sing to the hours;        15
  Yet rise my days behind me like the hills,
Unstarred by light of mighty triumphs won:
Alas! what have I done? what have I done?
 
Be still, my soul; restrain thy lips from woe;
  Cease thy lament! for life is but the flower;        20
The fruit comes after death: how canst thou know
  The roundness of its form, its grace and power?
Death is Life’s morning; when thy work’s begun,
Then ask thyself, What yet is to be done?

  The Sleeping World, and Other Poems. 1887.
 
 
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