Alice Cary Poems

Alice Cary Poems,Alice was the elder of the famous American Cary sisters who were so close that they wrote much of their poetry together during the 19th century.

They published their work jointly in the first instance but once the pair had established themselves as significant writers of that time they published separate collections and both went on to achieve success as individual writers despite not enjoying the best of health. Alice was 17 when she had her first work published, along with her sister, in local newspapers and periodicals.

Alice Cary Poems

Alice Cary Bio

Alice preceded her sister by four years, being born in April 1820 in Mount Healthy, a town in Ohio. She had a reasonably happy childhood, living on Clovernook Farm in a devoutly religious household.

They were Universalists and all went serenely until, at the age of 15, Alice lost her mother and her father married a woman who was much less sympathetic towards the literary talents of her step daughters. She was more concerned with how much the girls could contribute to the farm work than how many poems they could write.

Despite the difficulties Alice encouraged her younger sibling to keep on reading and writing as much as possible, even by the weak light of a homemade flickering candle before retiring for the night. Somehow, they both grew up to be reasonably well educated. Both girls retained their strong faith and Alice, in particular, favoured the doctrines that her parents had introduced into the household. She saw the best in people and believed that God would always welcome a sinner if they were to show themselves to Him and follow his path.

Alice Cary Poems
Alice Cary Poems

Alice Cary Poems

A Dream

I dreamed I had a plot of ground,
Once when I chanced asleep to drop,
And that a green hedge fenced it round,
Cloudy with roses at the top.

I saw a hundred mornings rise, —
So far a little dream may reach, —
And Spring with Summer in her eyes
Making the chiefest charm of each.

A thousand vines were climbing o’er
The hedge, I thought, but as I tried
To pull them down, for evermore
The flowers dropt off the other side!

Waking, I said, “These things are signs
Sent to insruct us that ’tis ours
Duly to keep and dress our vines, —
Waiting in patience for the flowers.

“And when the angel feared of all
Across my hearth its shadow spread,
The rose that climbed my garden wall
Has bloomed the other side,” I said.

Alice Cary Poems
Alice Cary Poems


The wild and windy March once more
Has shut his gates of sleet,
And given us back the April-time,
So fickle and so sweet.Now blighting with our fears, our hopes —
Now kindling hopes with fears —
Now softly weeping through her smiles —
Now smiling through her tears.Ah, month that comes with rainbows crowned,
And golden shadows dressed —
Constant to her inconstancy,
And faithful to unrest.The swallows ’round the homestead eaves —
The bluebirds in the bowers
Twitter their sweet songs for thy sake,
Gay mother of the flowers.The brooks that moaned but yesterday
Through bunches of dead grass,
Climb up their banks with dimpled hands,
And watch to see thee pass.

The willow, for thy grace’s sake,
Has dressed with tender spray,
And all the rivers send their mists
To meet thee on the way.

The morning sets her rosy clouds
Like hedges in the sky,
And o’er and o’er their dear old tunes
The winds of evening try.

Before another week has gone,
Each bush, and shrub, and tree,
Will be as full of buds and leaves
As ever it can be.

I welcome thee with all my heart,
Glad herald of the spring,
And yet I cannot choose but think
Of all thou dost not bring.

The violet opes her eyes beneath
The dew-fall and the rain —
But, oh, the tender drooping lids
That open not again!

Thou set’st the red familiar rose
Beside the household door,
But oh, the friends, the sweet, sweet friends
Thou bringest back no more!

But shall I mourn that thou no more
A short-lived joy can bring,
Since death has lifted up the gates
Of their eternal spring?

Alice Cary Poems
Alice Cary Poems


Shorter and shorter now the twilight clips
The days, as through the sunset gates they crowd,
And Summer from her golden collar slips
And strays through stubble-fields, and moans aloud,Save when by fits the warmer air deceives,
And, stealing hopeful to some sheltered bower,
She lies on pillows of the yellow leaves,
And tries the old tunes over for an hour.The wind, whose tender whisper in the May
Set all the young blooms listening through th’grove,
Sits rustling in the faded boughs to-day
And makes his cold and unsuccessful love.The rose has taken off her tire of red–
The mullein-stalk its yellow stars have lost,
And the proud meadow-pink hangs down her head
Against earth’s chilly bosom, witched with frost.The robin, that was busy all the June,
Before the sun had kissed the topmost bough,
Catching our hearts up in his golden tune,
Has given place to the brown cricket now.

The very cock crows lonesomely at morn–
Each flag and fern the shrinking stream divides–
Uneasy cattle low, and lambs forlorn
Creep to their strawy sheds with nettled sides.

Shut up the door: who loves me must not look
Upon the withered world, but haste to bring
His lighted candle, and his story-book,
And live with me the poetry of Spring.

Alice Cary Poems
Alice Cary Poems


The year has lost its leaves again,
The world looks old and grim;
God folds His robe of glory thus,
That we may see but Him.

And all His stormy messengers,
That come with whirlwind breath,
Beat out our chaff of vanity,
And leave the grains of faith.

We will not feel, while summer waits
Her rich delights to share,
What sinners, miserably bad,–
How weak and poor we are.

We read through fields of speckled flowers
As if we did not know
Our Father made them beautiful,
Because He loves us so.

We hold His splendors in our hands
As if we held the dust,
And deal His judgment, as if man
Than God could be more just.

We seek, in prayers and penances,
To do the martyr’s part,
Remembering not, the promises
Are to the pure in heart.

From evil and forbidden things,
Some good we think to win,
And to the last analysis
Experiment with sin.

We seek no oil in summer time
Our winter lamp to trim,
But strive to bring God down to us,
More than to rise to Him.

And when that He is nearest, most
Our weak complaints we raise,
Lacking the wisdom to perceive
The mystery of His ways.

For, when drawn closest to Himself,
Then least His love we mark;
The very wings that shelter us
From peril, make it dark.

Sometimes He takes His hands from us,
When storms the loudest blow,
That we may learn how weak, alone,–
How strong in Him, we grow.

Through the cross iron of our free will
And fate, we plead for light,
As if God gave us not enough
To do our work aright.

We will not see, but madly take
The wrong and crooked path,
And in our own hearts light the fires
Of a consuming wrath.

The fashion of His Providence
Our way is so above,
We serve Him most who take the most
Of His exhaustless love.

We serve Him in the good we do,
The blessings we embrace,
Not lighting farthing candles for
The palace of His grace.

He has no need of our poor aid
His purpose to pursue;
‘Tis for our pleasure, not for His,
That we His work must do.

Then blow, O wild winds, as ye list,
And let the world look grim,–
God folds His robe of glory thus
That we may see but Him.

Alice Cary Poems
Alice Cary Poems




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