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

Eliza Cook 1812–89

The Quiet Eye

THE ORB I like is not the one

That dazzles with its lightning gleam;

That dares to look upon the sun,

As though it challenged brighter beam.

That orb may sparkle, flash, and roll;

Its fire may blaze, its shaft may fly;

But not for me: I prize the soul

That slumbers in a quiet eye.

There ’s something in its placid shade

That tells of calm, unworldly thought;

Hope may be crown’d, or joy delay’d—

No dimness steals, no ray is caught.

Its pensive language seems to say,

“I know that I must close and die;”

And death itself, come when it may,

Can hardly change the quiet eye.

There ’s meaning in its steady glance,

Of gentle blame or praising love,

That makes me tremble to advance

A word, that meaning might reprove.

The haughty threat, the fiery look,

My spirit proudly can defy,

But never yet could meet and brook

The upbraiding of a quiet eye.

There ’s firmness in its even light,

That augurs of a breast sincere:

And, oh! take watch how ye excite

That firmness till it yield a tear.

Some bosoms give an easy sigh,

Some drops of grief will freely start,

But that which sears the quiet eye

Hath its deep fountain in the heart.