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Within a weird, enchanted loom
Was this surpassing marvel wove.
HARRIET H. ROBINSON.
Chaste as a soul whose faults are shriven, Reflecting only crystal light,
And hides defects and stains from sight.
Like vestal virgin, or a bride,
And picturesque, Veiled by this alabaster tide
Of flakes from an aërial height!
'Neath this inimitable lace, Embroidered with designs most rare
Wrought by the storms— Nature's transfigured, glorious face
Gleams wondrously, divinely fair.
" COME UNTO ME, AND I WILL GIVE
Why should my heart abide disconsolate, When its despair Thy love can penetrate, And its deep gloom Thou canst illuminate?
munity as well as in the family is coming to be acknowledged, when the labor of her hands, head and heart is everywhere abundantly honored, it is well for our younger toilers to see what has been accomplished by those who grew up under circumstances more difficult than those by which they are surrounded. Labor has always been honorable for anybody in our steady-going, highprincipled New England life; but it was not as easy for a young woman to put her mental machinery into working order forty years ago as it is now. Her ambition for the education of her higher faculties was, however, all the greater for the check that was put upon them by the necessities of the longer day's toil and the smaller compensation of the older time. It is one of the wholesome laws of our nature that we value most that which we most persistently strive after, through obstacles and hinderances. The author of “The New Pandora" is an illustration of what has been achieved by one such woman, the development of whose mind began as a child in the Lowell cotton mills half a century ago. The book is commended by reviewers as an admirably written composition, a beautiful and successful dramatic poem of woman. It is the result of ripe years of thought. “Nor indeed,” says a critic, “could any one write so without the experiences of life behind her work."
Mrs. Robinson's maiden name was Harriet Hanson. She was born in Boston, February 8, 1825, and in 1832 removed with her widowed mother and her brothers to Lowell, where they lived for some years on the Tremont Corporation. She wrote occasionally for the Lowell Offering, and was on intimate terms with its editors and contributors. In 1848 she married William S. Robinson, then editor of the Boston Daily Uhig. Mr. Robinson afterwards became well known as “War
rington” in the Springfield Republican and in the | New York Tribune; and he was for eleven years
Clerk of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He died March 11, 1876.
Mrs. Robinson's first published work was “Warrington Pen Portraits," a memoir of her husband, with selections from his writings. She has also written “Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement," a history; “Captain Mary Miller,” a drama; and “Early Factory Labor in New England”; and is a contributor to newspapers and magazines. But her best literary achievement is her latest, “The New Pandora," a poem of which any writer might well be proud, and which deserves
No voice but Thine can change its night to day;
Upon a soul that truly does repent
I can no more this woeful weight sustain.
Vainly do I deplore lost innocence,
Hast Thou not promised that the soul contrite Thou wouldst absolve? (), make my life upright, And teach me how to find in Thee delight!
By sin and sorrow, grievously oppressed,
And every deed they wrought fruition brings,
As do their leaders teach. So secret springs
Control the rivers' fow. But see, there wings A new procession toward the heights divine, And lo, a woman leads! whose deeds no song
Of poet sweet, nor page of history keeps. Not great, or wise, she claimed not to belong To such as these; not this the praise she reaps, But o'er her grave, whose pen could write no
wrong, The pure young girlhood of the nation weeps.
a large circulation, both on account of its substance and its execution. The poem is no mere attempt at rewriting the old classical legend,—it is modern in all its suggestions, and puts the possibilities of humanity-inclusive of manhood and womanhoodon a noble upward plane. There are passages of exquisitely clear-cut poetry in the drama, and gleams of true poetic aspiration lighting up the homely toil of the woman who knows herself not of earthly lineage. The “Chorus of Ills” beginning their fight is a strong chant, as classical in its strain as some of Shelley's in his imaginative dramas. Indeed, the whole poem is so classically thought out and shaped as to be lifted quite above what is “popular” in style, and is for that reason less likely to attract the attention it deserves.
To the writer of this brief notice, it is pleasant to recall the time when the author of this beautiful poem and herself were children together,--school companions and work-mates, - when an atmosphere of poetry hung over the busy city by the Merrimac, and when its green borders burst into bloom with girlish dreams and aspirations. Perhaps her “Pandora's Prayer" breathes the very truest aspirations of many a heart among that far-away throng of industrious onward-looking maidens:
“But this I ask, that I may be allowed by thee
THE INWARD VOICE.
I said unto my soul, Be still, nor haunt
Me longer with thy voice divine, nor urge
Me yet to do the thing I ought, nor scourge My follies. Off! Thou shalt not rule and taunt Me thus. I'll eat and drink and die, and vaunt
My purpose still.” Then evil thoughts did surge,
Usurp her place, and desperate to the verge Of darkest night I came, that well might daunt A stronger one. Then I recalled my soul,
And pleading to the voice that once was mine I said: “Come yet again, and have control;
Come back, I'll welcome thee and ne'er repine, But do thy will and bravely speak the whole,
Whate'er betide. In life and death be thine."
THE THYME-LEAVED SANDWORT.
When first I met you, little milk-white flower,
Hid in the grass along my lonely way,
'Twas early spring; but even then your day Was almost done, your life had lost its power.
And yet, along your puny stalk, the dower
Of each day's bloom, a tiny seed there lay
Safe held within,—the flower of yesterday, To bloom again and fill your little hour.
MADONNA! most gracious Madonna!
With the marvelous child on thy breast, – I could not interpret the mystery,
That appears in thy form manifest,
That veiled in thy motherhood sacred
Doth an essence creative enshrine, Revealing the mythical blending
Of humanity with the divine.
O, blossom small, a lesson well you teach!
What though my life no increase seems to gain, No fair fruition yield! Still may I reach
Unto my highest bound and climb amain, And climbing bloom, so that a seed for each
Day's flower will show I have not lived in vain.
But thou, O my chosen Madonna!
Hast unfolded the mystery grand. When I see our own child on thy bosom,
It doth teach me,--then I understand
LOUISA MAY ALCOTT.
MARCH 6, 1888.
The men who make the age, its leaders, kings,
How all through the soul of the mother
Doth the Presence ineffable shine, Forever announcing the union
Of humanity with the divine.
Who loves, forgets himself, oppresseth not
- The New Pandora.
And plant and gather food to feed mankind?
and cheek. She lives! to earth she came For me, for me! I am the happy man.
How beautiful is thought! It wraps the soul, and makes the body seem A thing of air! It knows nor time, nor space, But free it roams, more swist, more subtile, yea, Ethereal more than are the gods! Ah me! I sometimes wish that I had naught to do But think my thoughts; and yet amid my toil, However hard and mean, such fancies rise As might have had their birth 'midst woods and
flowers. And when I make the fire in early morni, Or sweep the hearthstone up, such glorious scenes Along the climbing blaze arise, ascend, As well may fill the sun-god's home, or stream Through Heaven's blue, adown his shining beam.
Without a mate and child, a man is like
At first a far-off bird attuned his pipe;
Great Jove! 'tis I, Pandora, mother of my kind.
Within the casket's verge. O, let me bid it forth! | If thou dost think me worthy of the boon, O hear My supplication, Father, hearken to my cry!
-Ibid. WEDDED LOVE. How blest the wedded home where friendship reigns! Its walls coherent are with light and warmth; Within its depths dwell comfort, patience, love. There hides no sin, nor aught contaminate. Freedom of speech is welcome there, and each Is just to each. There order, neatness rules, As meets the needs of all. No single one Lays down the law that will coerce the rest. 'Tis not too finely kept for daily use. -Ibid.
Silence So vast, that makes the soul forevermore Acquainted with its God, slept over all. And if my spiritual ear could then have heard, Interpreted the voice that in me speaks, Then should I once for all have known myself. But like inscrutable Nature, it was dumb.
--Ibid. HUSBAND TO THE WIFE.
Yet all are needed to make up the world.