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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Josephine Preston Peabody (1874–1922)


I AM a princess royal,—child of a royal line;

All the broad moorlands I look on—lea, strand, and meadow—are mine!

Oh, I may wander at will over shores by the breakers kissed;

I may look seaward, skyward, though sunbeams fall as they list.

Mine is a race anointed,—mighty the name I bear;

Mine is the glory of giving, mine is the purple to wear.

Ay, mine to send, if I will it, ships to the end of the sea!

Mine to await their home-coming, the eyes of the people on me.

Sometimes the wind from the northlands, scourging the surf too bold,

Blows the hair back from my forehead: purple seems all too cold.

Sometimes my brows are wearied,—crown-gold seems woven with rue;

Chanceth it then I remember purple is dark of hue.

O ye, my people, ye wist not that shadows, forgetting the throne,

E’en as they fall upon your lives, darken the path of my own.

Nay, but to shrink from the thorn-sting,—turn, if a shadow be seen,—

Maketh a princess less royal, maketh a queen not a queen.

Royalty? Nay, O my sisters! What doth it mean but to smile,—

Ay, and walk on, face unshadowed,—out of the sunlight the while!

Crown? Yea, there is one of fire: best it beseemeth a head

Bowed not to dark nor to tempest whither the way hath led.

Thorns spring low in the wayside,—and should a queen look down?

Yet—O thou King, my Father, help me to wear my crown!