Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Sonnets from “A Lover’s Diary.” II. A Woman’s Hand

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Sir Gilbert Parker 1862–1932

Sonnets from “A Lover’s Diary.” II. A Woman’s Hand


NONE ever climbed to mountain height of song,

But felt the touch of some good woman’s palm;

None ever reached God’s altitude of calm,

But heard one voice cry, “Follow!” from the throng.

I would not place her as an image high

Above my reach, cold, in some dim recess,

Where never she should feel a warm caress

Of this my hand that serves her till I die.

I would not set her higher than my heart,—

Though she is nobler than I e’er can be,—

Because she placed me from the crowd apart,

And with her tenderness she honored me.

Because of this, I hold me worthier

To be her kinsman, while I worship her.

A WOMAN’S hand. Lo, I am thankful now

That with its touch I have walked all my days;

Rising from fateful and forbidden ways,

To find a woman’s hand upon my brow,

Soft as a pad of rose-leaves, and as pure

As upraised palms of angels, seen in dreams:

And soothed by it, to stand as it beseems

A man who strives to conquer and endure.

A woman’s hand!—There is no better thing

Of all things human; it is half divine;

It hath been more to this lame life of mine,

When faith was weakness, and despair was king.

Man more than all men, Thou wast glad to bless

A woman’s sacrifice and tenderness.