19th Century Women's Poetry

Mary Frances Butts (b. 1830s)

Mary Frances Barber was born in Hopkinton, RI; she married in 1865. Known for her journalistic writings and books for children, she also published a collection of poetry, A Fence of Trust, in 1898.

In Galilee
Roman and Jew upon one level lie;
Great Herod's palaces are ground to dust;
Upon the synagogues are mould and rust;
Night winds among the tottering columns sigh;
Yet sparrows through the massive ruins fly,
And o'er the sacred earth's embroidered crust
Still goes the sower forth to sow, still must
The shepherd with his sheep sit listlessly.
There towers the mountain where the Teacher spake
In those old times the sweet Beatitudes,
Surviving kings and codes, fair words and feuds.
There creeps the Jordan to its destined lake,
The fisher casts his net into the sea,
And still the lilies bloom in Galilee.
[AA; c.1898]