Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
November 8
Madame Roland
          Madame Roland, wife of a famous adherent of the French Revolution, was guillotined on Nov. 8, 1793.

A MIEN of modest loveliness,
  A brow on which no shadow lies,
And woman’s soul of truthfulness
  Out-looking from soft hazel eyes:
Thy placid features only show        5
  The happy mother, faithful wife,
Not her whose fate it was to know
  All strange vicissitudes of life.
Unnoticed in thy youthful days
  It was thy happy lot to move,        10
Brightening life’s unobtrusive ways
  With the sweet ministries of love.
And learning the great truths of life
  That best are learned in solitude,
But only in its after strife        15
  Are ever proved or understood!
That toiling early, toiling late,
  For others, is our highest bliss—
Man, even in his best estate,
  Hath no more happiness than this.        20
Such truth it was, that even there,
  Where reigned the prison’s gloom and chill,
Could keep thee wholly from despair,
  And make thee toil for others still.
Till thine own sorrows half forgot,        25
  Thy noblest sacrifice was shown
In words and deeds for those whose lot
  Was far more wretched than thine own.
Yet well for thee our tears may flow,
  Though high thy name emblazoned stands,        30
Thou, with a woman’s heart, could’st know
  No life that woman’s heart demands.
Happier than thou, with fame and wealth,
  Is she who cheers earth’s humblest place;
Leaving no picture of herself,        35
  Save in a daughter’s modest face.

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