earlyamericanwomenpoets



Ann Olivia Adams, who published her work under the pseudonym "Astarte," was the author of a single volume of regionalist, floral, calendar, and fairy-tale verses. The poem included here, "To the Poets," seems to be her finest and most thoughtful piece.


To the Poets

The poets have done this for us, have given us utterance:
For half of us are dumb, and have no word,
And what we feel struggles and dies untold,
When joy or sorrow to its depths is stirred.

They have been up, to where we could not breathe;
And down, to Nature's sacred depth of tears;
And brought the rich, lost language of the soul,
To soothe the discord of our sinful years.

They call us ever from the Olden Ages,
Over the wreck of Empires, and we glow,
Beneath the unworn splendor of their thoughts,
And feel akin to all that's great below.

The Poets have done this; their touch immortal,
Falls here and there, O Earth! on things of thine,
And sends them, all imperishable, onward,
As long as human hearts beat human time.

It may be dear, to have the bay-leaves bound
Around our brows, by cold and cautious Fame,
That, as the centuries go rolling by,
Picks, now and then, reluctantly, a name.

But to have said some words, which will be dear
To human hearts, while human hearts beat high —
Name, race, and clime forgotten — 'tis to be
Lost, in sweet Nature's language, not to die.


Sources

Adams, Ann Olivia (pseud. Astarte). Poems. New York: W. H. Kelley & Brothers, 1865.

Cushing, Williams. "Astarte." Initials and Pseudonyms: A Dictionary of Literary Disguises. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., 1885. 20.