19th Century Women's Poetry

Julia C. R. Dorr (1825-?)

Julia Caroline Ripley was born in Charleston, SC. She moved to New York City before her marriage in 1847 to Seneca R. Dorr, a judge from Rutland, Vermont. Settling in Vermont, she was the author of at least four volumes of poetry between 1871 and 1892 (including Poems and Friar Answlmo and Other Poems); two prose works based on her European travels; and a novel, In Kings' Houses, in 1898. She often used the pen-name "Caroline Thomas."

To a Late Comer
Why didst thou come into my life so late?
If it were morning I could welcome thee
With glad all-hails, and bid each hour to be
The willing servitor of thine estate,
Lading thy brave ships with Time's richest freight;
If it were noonday I might hope to see
On some fair height thy banners floating free,
And hear the acclaiming voices call thee great!
But it is nightfall and the stars are out;
Far in the west the crescent moon hangs low,
And near at hand the lurking shadows wait;
Darkness and silence gather round about,
Lethe's black stream is near its overflow,--
Ah, friend, dear, friend, why didst thou come so late?

With a Rose from Conway Castle
On hoary Conway's battlemented height,
O poet-heart, I pluck for thee a rose!
Through arch and court the sweet wind wandering goes;
Round each high tower the rooks in airy flight
Circle and wheel, all bathed in amber light;
Low at my feet the winding river flows;
Valley and town, entranced in deep repose,
War doth no more appall, nor foes affright.
Thou knowest how softly on the castle walls,
Where mosses creep, and ivies far and free
Fling forth their pennants to the freshening breeze,
Like God's own benison this sunshine falls.
Therefore, O friend, across the sundering seas,
Fair Conway sends this sweet wild rose to thee!

Two Paths
A path across a meadow fair and sweet,
Where clover-blooms the lithesome grasses greet,
A path worn wmooth by his impetuous feet.
A straight, swift path--and at its end, a star
Gleaming behind the lilac's fragrant bar,
And her soft eyes, more luminous by far!

A path across the meadow fair and sweet,
Still sweet and fair where blooms and grasses meet--
A path worn smooth by his reluctant feet.
A long, straight path--and, at its end, a gate
Behind whose bars she doth in silence wait
To keep the tryst, if he come soon or late!