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Short poem

Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt (1836-1919)

The Sorrows of Charlotte

              1The Sorrows of Werther, that is the Book,
              2    Little girl of mine. Will I show you what
              3His sorrows were like? Such a brown-eyed look
              4    Could hardly see. Never mind, they were not
              5Such sorrows, I fancy as yours or mine,
              6But such as in pictures look so fine,
              7    And such as can end –  in a pistol shot.

              8“Is any one else in the Book?” (I knew
              9    She would ask me that.) Yes, Charlotte is there.
            10“Then is it the Sorrows of Charlotte too?”
            11    No, child, for never a man would care
            12To write such a long sad story, you see,
            13    As the – cutting of bread-and-butter would be;
            14    And never a woman had time to dare!


1] In Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774), the hopeless protagonist falls in love with Charlotte as she is giving bread and butter to her brothers and sisters.

Online text copyright © 2004, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: The Capital 2:23:1 (August 11, 1872).
Publication date note: Cf. Palace-Burner: The Selected Poetry of Sarah Piatt, ed. Paula Bennett (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2001): 33.
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2004
Recent editing: 1:2004/4/2

Form: septets
Rhyme: ababccb

Other poems by Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt