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Caroline Sturgis Tappan

Selected Poems


   Greatly to Be
   Is enough for me,
   Is enough for thee.

Why for work art thou striving,
Why seek'st thou for aught?
To the soul that is living
All things shall be brought.

What thou art thou wilt do,
And thy work will be true.

But how can I Be
Without labor or love?
Life comes not to me
As to calm gods above.
Not only above
May spirit be found,
The sunshine of love
Streams all around.

The sun does not say,
"I will not shine
Unless every ray
Falls on planet divine."

He shines upon dust
Upon things mean and low,
His own inward thought
Maketh him glow.

The Dial, II, October 1840


The star coldly glimmer--
   And I am alone.
The pale moon grows dimmer,
   And now it has gone.
Loud shrieks the owl, night presses round,
The little flowers lie low on the ground
   And sadly moan.

Why is the earth so sad?
   Why doth she weep?
Methinks she would be glad
   Calmly to sleep.
But the dews are falling, heavy and fast,
Sadly sighs the cold night-blast,
   Loud roars the deep.

I press my hands upon my heart--
   'Tis very cold!
And swiftly through the forest dart
   With footsteps bold.
What shall I seek? Where shall I go?
Earth and ocean shudder with woe!
   Their tale is untold!

The Dial, I, October 1840

Art and Artist

With dauntless eye the lofty one
   Moves on through life;
Majestic as the mighty sun
   He knows no strife.

He sees the thought flow to the form,
   And rise like bubble bright;
A moment of beauty--and it is gone.
   Dissolved in light.

The Dial, I, October 1840


You go to the woods--what there have you seen?
Quivering leaves glossy and green;
Lights and Shadows dance to and fro,
Beautiful flowers in the soft moss grow.
Is the secret of these things known to you?
Can you tell what gives the flower its hue?
Why the oak spreads out its limbs so wide?
And the graceful grape-vine grows by its side?
Why clouds full of sunshine are piled on high?
What sends the wind to sweep through the sky?
No! the secret of Nature I do not know--
A poor groping child, through her marvels I go!

The Dial, IV, January 1844