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Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt (1836-1919)

The Coming of Eve
And What Came of It


              1God gave the world to Man in the Beginning.
              2    Alone in Eden there and lord of all
              3He mused: "There may be one thing worth the winning.
              4    (All else is mine.) When will that Apple fall?

              5"I weary of the Garden. Here are roses
              6    That bloom and die not. Oh, that they would die!
              7Without one thorn each bud its blush uncloses.
              8    (Perhaps the thorns will sharpen by and by!)

              9"In all this world of loveliness, I find not
            10    One flower whose face seems fair at all to see.
            11I might endure – even Paradise, and mind not,
            12    Were Some One here to wear a rose for me.

            13"Still, yonder fruit must mock me with its glitter!
            14    (The Woman – were there one! – might rob the Tree!)
            15It may be that the taste within is bitter,
            16    And this eternal sweetness tortures me."

            17He yawned himself to sleep. And then, (oh wonder!
            18    Oh beauty that made flower and star look dim!)
            19He woke, and lo! the Woman waited under
            20    The Tree – whereon the Apple grew – for him.

            21"What would my lord?" the Vision sighed. "Command me.
            22    (Heaven for his pleasure made me – from his side –
            23At least, not for my own!)" "You understand me? –
            24    I want yon Apple, Fairest!" he replied....

            25Then, lo! the seraph's sword of fire above them! –
            26    And lo! all Eden blackened at their feet!
            27With none on earth and none in Heaven to love them,
            28    Save one another, life at once grew sweet! ...

            29God gave the world to Man. With eyes entreating,
            30    The Woman said: "Hast Thou no gift for me?"
            31"Yea, Woman! In thy breast a Heart is beating!"
            32    The Father spake. "That is my gift to thee!" ...

            33Eve – passing – left this gift to all her daughters.
            34    Is Man a wanderer from his home apart?
            35Do great winds hurl him over troubled waters?
            36    Faints he on sand? She follows with her Heart!

            37He goeth forth to battle and is wounded.
            38    She binds the wounds he dies from – or has made!
            39He sounds the seas. She sounds the deeps unsounded –
            40    The darker deeps from which he shrinks afraid!

            41She watches by the cradle, and so catches
            42    The first light of the soul, God's new-born star!
            43She watches by the grave – alone, she watches
            44    (Others forget) where death and silence are.

            45She helps her race as maid, as wife, as mother –
            46    With grace, with love, with sweetness, with her Heart!
            47Yet women, sisters, helping one another,
            48    Most surely ye shall choose the better part.

            49She has her little wrongs. To bear or mend them
            50    Is what she – must! God gave the world to Man.
            51To her He gave – her troubles! He will end them!
            52    But, meanwhile, let her help Him as she can!

Notes

1] A poem written for reading at the convention of the Federation of Women's Clubs in Marietta, Ohio, in October 1900 (Paula Bennett, Palace–Burner [2001]: 180).

23] not for my own: not for my own pleasure.

25] seraph: the archangel Michael.


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: Palace–Burner: The Selected Poetry of Sarah Piatt (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2001): 148-49.
First publication date: 1903
Publication date note: Hesperian Tree 2 (1903).
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2004
Recent editing: 1:2004/4/15*1:2004/4/15

Form: quatrains
Rhyme: abab


Other poems by Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt