Have I told you lately how much I love the internet? I found this poem on the front page of the Caddo Herald and wanted to share it. However, because of damage to the paper, parts of the seventh verse are impossible to read. I put the first line into the Google search box and immediately got a link to a copy of the poem in an 1866 issue of The New York Times (which by the way, does not list the author). Further searching led to the author, Elizabeth Anne Chase Taylor Akers Allen (1832-1911), journalist and poet from Maine, known as Elizabeth Akers and also published as Florence Percy. She was married to the sculptor, Benjamin Paul Akers. He died in 1861 and in 1865 she married New York merchant, E. M. Allen. I love one of the quotes attributed to her: “I believe… in the prevention of cruelty to all creatures, dumb and otherwise.”
The Caddo Herald
December 28, 1875
I do not know who wrote the following beautiful lines. I only know that some time in the year 1866 a friend sent me a paper containing them; and I have never seen them in any other publication. As I was at the time trying to hide from the world a heartache of which my friend could only have known by intuition, it gave me great comfort and has been preserved with care among the cherished mementos of the past. Urania (Lydia McPherson)
O willow, why forever weep,
As one who mourns an endless wrong?
What hidden woe can lie so deep?
What utter grief can last so long?
The Spring makes haste with steps elate,
Your life and beauty to renew;
She even bids the roses wait,
And gives her first sweet care to you.
The welcome red-breast folds his wing
To pour for you his richest strain;
To you the earliest blue birds sing,
Till all your light stems thrill again.
The sparrow trills his wedding song,
And trusts his tender brood to you;
Fair flowering vines, the Summer long,
With clasp and kiss your beauty woo.
The sunshine drapes your limbs with light,
The rain braids diamonds in your hair;
The breeze makes love to you at night-
Yet still you droop, and still despair.
Beneath your boughs at fall of dew,
By lovers’ lips is softly told,
The tale that all the ages through
Has kept the world from growing old.
But still, though April’s buds unfold,
Or Summer sets the earth aleaf,
Or Autumn pranks your robes with gold
You sway and sigh in graceful grief.
Mourn on forever unconsoled,
And keep your secret, faithful tree!
No heart in all the world can hold,
A sweeter grace than constancy.