By Phoebe Cary 1824–1871 Phoebe Cary
He dwelt among “apartments let,”
      About five stories high;
A man I thought that none would get,
      And very few would try.

A boulder, by a larger stone
      Half hidden in the mud,
Fair as a man when only one
      Is in the neighborhood.

He lived unknown, and few could tell
      When Jacob was not free;
But he has got a wife,—and O!
      The difference to me!

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Poet Phoebe Cary 1824–1871


Subjects Marriage & Companionship, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Living, Love, Humor & Satire, Unrequited Love, Heartache & Loss, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Common Measure, Rhymed Stanza


The sisters ALICE (1820—1871) and PHOEBE CARY (1824—1871) grew up on a farm near Cincinnati, Ohio, in an area later immortalized by Alice’s Clovernook stories. There they immersed themselves in the classics of literature under the tutelage of an older sister whose death in 1833 affected them deeply. Although both published poems while still teenagers, it wasn’t until 1850, after their work had been noticed by such luminaries . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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