19th Century Women's Poetry

Princess Amelie Troubetzkoy (1863-1945)

Born in Richmond, Virginia, Amelie Louise Rives was the granddaughter of a senator and the daughter of a successful engineer, but she rose to even greater social heights through marriage. After a privately tutored education, she married John Armstrong Chandler of New York. Later she married Prince Pierre Troubetskoy of Russia, thus attaining the title of Princess Troubetskoy. The couple resided at Castle Hill, near Cobham, Virginia. She wrote at least four volumes of fiction, numerous uncollected poems, and Herod and Marianne (1889), a verse drama.

A Mood
It is good to strive against wind and rain
In the keen, sweet weather that autumn brings.
The wild horse shakes not the drops from his mane,
The wild bird flicks not the wet from her wings,
In gladder fashion that I toss free
The mist-dulled gold of my bright hair's flag,
What time the winds on their heel-wings lag,
And all the tempest is friends with me.
None can reach me to wound or cheer;
Sound of weeping and sound of song--
Neither may trouble me: I can hear
But the wind's loud laugh, and the sibilant, strong,
Lulled rush of the rain through the sapless weeds.
O rare, dear days, ye are here again!
I will woo ye as maidens are wooed of men,--
With oaths forgotten and broken creeds!

Ye shall not lack for the sun's fierce shining--
With the gold of my hair will I make ye glad;
For your blown, red forests give no repining--
Here are my lips: will ye still be sad?
Comfort ye, comfort ye, days of cloud,
Days of shadow, of wrath, of blast--
I who love ye am come at last.
Laugh to welcome me! cry aloud!

For wild am I as the winds and rains--
Free to come and to go as they;
Love's moon sways not the tides of my veins;
There is no voice that can bid me stay.
Out and away on the drenched, brown lea!
Out to the great, glad heart of the year!
Nothing to grieve for, nothing to fear,--
Fetterless, lawless, a maiden free!

[AA; 1887]

Before the Rain
The blackcaps pipe among the reeds,
And there'll be rain to follow;
There is a mumur as of wind
In every coign and hollow;
The wrens do chatter of their fears
While swinging on the barley-ears.
Come, hurry, while there yet is time,
Pull up thy scarlet bonnet.
Now, sweetheart, as my love is thine,
There is a drop upon it.
So trip it ere the storm-hag weird
Doth pluck the barley by the beard!

Lo! not a whit too soon we're housed;
The storm-witch yells above us.
The branches rapping on the panes
Seem not in truth to love us.
And look where through the clover bush
The nimble-footed rain doth rush!

[AA; 1887]

A Sonnet
Take all of me,--I am thine own, heart, soul,
Brain, body,--all; all that I am or dream
Is thine forever; yea, though space should teem
With thy conditions, I 'd fulfil the whole--
Were to fulfil them to be loved of thee.
Oh, love me!--were to love me but a way
To kill me--love me; so to die would be
To live forever. Let me hear thee say
Once only, "Dear, I love thee,"--then all life
Would be one sweet remembrance, thou its king:
Nay, thou art that already, and the strife
Of twenty worlds could not uncrown thee. Bring
O Time! my monarch to possess his throne
Which is my heart and for himself alone.
[AA; 1886]