Poem of the day

The Soul’s Defiance
by Lavinia Stoddard (1787-1820)

I said to Sorrow’s awful storm,
      That beat against my breast,
Rage on—thou may’st destroy this form,
      And lay it low at rest;
But still the spirit that now brooks
      Thy tempest, raging high,
Undaunted on its fury looks
      With steadfast eye.

I said to Penury’s meagre train,
      Come on—your threats I brave;
My last poor life-drop you may drain,
      And crush me to the grave;
Yet still the spirit that endures
      Shall mock your force the while,
And meet each cold, cold grasp of yours
      With bitter smile.

I said to cold Neglect and Scorn,
      Pass on—I heed you not;
Ye may pursue me till my form
      And being are forgot;
Yet still the spirit, which you see
      Undaunted by your wiles,
Draws from its own nobility
      Its high-born smiles.

I said to Friendship’s menaced blow,
      Strike deep—my heart shall bear;
Thou canst but add one bitter woe
      To those already there;
Yet still the spirit that sustains
      This last severe distress
Shall smile upon its keenest pains,
      And scorn redress.

I said to Death’s uplifted dart,
      Aim sure—oh, why delay?
Thou wilt not find a fearful heart—
      A weak, reluctant prey;
For still the spirit, firm and free,
      Unruffled by this last dismay,
Wrapt in its own eternity,
      Shall pass away.

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