One lived for grace — one lived for good; so runs,
In brief, the record of two women's claims,
Whose lives, unlike, closed with close-following suns,
Bequeathing memories diverse as their fames.
One, the famed daughter of a famous line,
With grace and charm, with wit and beauty dowered,
Yet on whose power to please, and will to shine,
Some adverse star malignant influence showered.
Her bridal wreath was blent with weeds of strife:
An ill world's ill report, by party aimed,
Fleshed its foul shafts in her unguarded life,
Until fair-weather friendship shrank afraid,
And hate and envy gave their tongues free play
On the proud soul that would not be o'erborne,
But strove to show brave face to bleakest day,
And hid her wounds, and gave back scorn for scorn:
And sang her song, and smiled her smile, and staunched
Her tears to strain her children to her breast,
But death's pale blight her hope's bright blossom blanched,
And left her all but lone in dark unrest.
Till time and fair life bore down ill-report,
And grief in patience, if not peace, was lost;
And she lived on, and sang, and held her court,
And dwelt in memories of the loved and lost.
Still beautiful, still graceful, with her voice
Of low, sweet music, and her gift of song;
Tenacious of the friendships of her choice, —
Fast because wisely made as cherished long.
Truest of all, the friend who, at the last,
Gave her marred life the shelter of his name,
And a short sunshine o'er her evening cast,
Denied her in the morning of her fame.
Noble of soul as beautiful, endowed
With all that should have crowned a life with joy, —
Well for her she has passed beyond the cloud,
Tended by faithful love, to join her boy.