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About this Poem 

“Niobe” was published in Sonnets (J. J. Little, 1893).

Niobe

O mother-heart! when fast the arrows flew,
   Like blinding lightning, smiting as they fell,
   One after one, one after one, what knell
Could fitly voice thy anguish! Sorrow grew 
To throes intensest, when thy sad soul knew
   Thy youngest, too, must go. Was it not well,
   Avengers wroth, just one to spare? Ay, tell
The ages of soul-struggle sterner? Through
The flinty stone, O image of despair,
   Sad Niobe, thy maddened grief did flow
In bitt’rest tears, when all thy wailing prayer
   Was so denied. Alas! what weight of woe
Is prisoned in thy melancholy eyes!
What mother-love beneath the Stoic lies!

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on October 20, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on October 20, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Henrietta Cordelia Day

Henrietta Cordelia Ray

Henrietta Cordelia Ray was born in New York City in 1849. She published a collection of sonnets in 1893 and another collection of poetry in 1910. In 1876 Ray’s poem “Lincoln” was read at the unveiling of the Emancipation Memorial in Washington, D.C. Ray died in 1917.

by this poet

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The subtlest strain a great musician weaves,
Cannot attain in rhythmic harmony
To music in his soul. May it not be
Celestial lyres send hints to him? He grieves
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Unheard in the transition. Thus do we
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We climb the slopes of life with throbbing heart,
And eager pulse, like children toward a star.
Sweet siren music cometh from afar,
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The nightingales to richer song than Art
Can ever teach. No passing shadows mar
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Life! Ay, what is it? E’en a moment spun
    From cycles of eternity. And yet,
    What wrestling ’mid the fever and the fret
Of tangled purposes and hopes undone!
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    In agonies of silence, ere trust met
    A manifold fulfillment, and the