Poetry

By Lydia Huntley Sigourney 1791–1865
Morn on her rosy couch awoke,
   Enchantment led the hour,
And mirth and music drank the dews
   That freshen’d Beauty’s flower,
Then from her bower of deep delight,
   I heard a young girl sing,
‘Oh, speak no ill of poetry,
   For ’tis a holy thing.’

The Sun in noon-day heat rose high,
   And on the heaving breast,
I saw a weary pilgrim toil
   Unpitied and unblest,
Yet still in trembling measures flow’d
   Forth from a broken string,
‘Oh, speak no ill of poetry,
   For ’tis a holy thing.’

’Twas night, and Death the curtains drew,
   ’Mid agony severe,
While there a willing spirit went
   Home to a glorious sphere,
Yet still it sigh’d, even when was spread
   The waiting Angel’s wing,
‘Oh, speak no ill of poetry,
   For ’tis a holy thing.’

Source: She Wields a Pen: American Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century (University of Iowa Press, 1997)

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Poet Lydia Huntley Sigourney 1791–1865

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

 Lydia Huntley Sigourney

Biography

Born in Norwich, Connecticut, poet Lydia Huntley Sigourney—known as the “Sweet Singer of Hartford”—was the only daughter of a gardener. She attended private school with the assistance of her father’s employer, and founded a Hartford school for girls in 1814. At this school, without any specialized training, Sigourney taught a deaf student, Alice Cogswell, to read and write in English. Cogswell would later be the first student . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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