Lilla Cabot Perry. The Heart of the Weed. 4.2 (April, 1887): 81-82.




[Harvard Monthly 4.2 (April, 1887), 81]


THE HEART OF THE WEED. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.


This is a volume of unpretentious verses written by a person who has


     “learned too soon that an intenser life.
Than joy can give, burns in the soul at strife
Against itself.”


It follows that the verses are very subjective; and, lacking the passion and the ring of
the great lyrics, they serve to interest the reader in the personality of the writer:
ardent, tender, sincere, self-searching, a personality to which these verses seem to
give quite inadequate expression.
Despite a prevailing subjectivity, the volume contains such exquisite touches
as the following; in speaking not very critically of the sonnet of which the writer of
this volume is too fond:


“Thou ’mind’st me of some lovely girlish face,
From Reynold’s canvas, whose sweet roguery [82]
But borrows, from her prime formality
Of pose, and costume stiff, a quainter grace,”—


or this, in speaking of love that arises from grief:


“As, where black night and ocean blended be,
Sudden the moon its tranquil splendor rears.”—




“The cool waves dash on the burning sand,
And lave with their fresh touch the parching land
Whose hot lips drink the kisses of the sea.”—

or, on “A Sick Child”:—


“Those fevered lips where blooms the flower of Death,
Those bright, bright eyes that soon no more may see,
That tossing golden head, that panting breath,
That small, hot hand still groping after me—
The little fluttering hand I smiling take,
But in that smile my heart-strings seem to break,”—


or this, “To the Organ-Man,” a bit of the poetry of the future:—


“Ah, pleasant vagrant! Hast thou come again


To play thy wandering music in our street,
While, through small curly heads fair visions fleet
At its enchantment? as thy well-known strain
Mounts to the nursery window, swift the pane
Warms ’neath the touch of baby faces sweet
Pressed list’ning towards it, as do flowers to greet
With rosy welcoming the summer rain.


“And to one heart not so untouched by time,
Across the years thy wavering notes recall
A lonely child, who from a window longs
To be an organ-man. Oh, fate sublime!
And though the years have sung her other songs,
Thy music then seemed sweeter than them all.”—


touches, none of which, save parts of the last, are of great, still of considerable poetic