Verse > Anthologies > Hunt and Lee, eds. > The Book of the Sonnet
Hunt and Lee, comps.  The Book of the Sonnet.  1867.
I. A Mother’s Picture
By Edmund Clarence Stedman (1833–1908)
SHE 1 seemed an angel to our infant eyes!
Once, when the glorifying moon revealed
Her who at evening by our pillow kneeled—
Soft-voiced and golden-haired, from holy skies
Flown to her loves on wings of Paradise—        5
We looked to see the pinions half concealed.
The Tuscan vines and olives will not yield
Her back to me, who loved her in this wise,
And since have little known her, but have grown
To see another mother tenderly        10
Watch over sleeping darlings of my own:
Perchance the years have changed her; yet alone
This picture lingers: still she seems to me
The fair, young angel of my infancy.
Note 1. Since the preliminary essay on American Sonnets and Sonneteers was written, my attention has been directed to a set of sonnets, few in number, but of exquisite beauty, by Edmund C. Stedman of New York. They are to be found in his two volumes of poetry, “Poems Lyrical and Idyllic,” published by Mr. Charles Scribner of New York, and “Alice of Monmouth, with Other Poems,” published by Mr. Carleton of the same city. There are but four of these sonnets in all. Two of them are constructed according to the true Italian model. The other two end with rhyming couplets, and therefore have that epigrammatic termination which the Italian masters considered fatal to the beauty of the sonnet. Mr. Stedman is nevertheless a genuine sonneteer in spirit, if not always in form; and a little further study of the peculiar structure of this species of poem will place him in the front rank of sonnet-writers. Indeed, I shall not attempt to decide whether the sonnets hereafter quoted have not already won him that position. [back]

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