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To Madame Curie

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Oft have I thrilled at deeds of high emprise,
And yearned to venture into realms unknown,
Thrice blessed she, I deemed, whom God had shown
How to achieve great deeds in woman’s guise.
Yet what discov’ry by expectant eyes
Of foreign shores, could vision half the throne
Full gained by her, whose power fully grown
Exceeds the conquerors of th’ uncharted skies?
So would I be this woman whom the world
Avows its benefactor; nobler far,
Than Sybil, Joan, Sappho, or Egypt’s queen.
In the alembic forged her shafts and hurled
At pain, diseases, waging a humane war;
Greater than this achievement, none, I ween.

Notes:
from The Philadelphia Public Ledger, August 21, 1921
Source: The Works of Alice Dunbar-Nelson Volume 2 The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers (Oxford University Press, 1988)
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To Madame Curie

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