Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
672. Tradition of Conquest
 
By Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt
 
 
HIS Grace of Marlborough, legends say,
  Though battle-lightnings proved his worth,
Was scathed like others, in his day,
  By fiercer fires at his own hearth.
 
The patient chief, thus sadly tried,—        5
  Madam, the Duchess, was so fair,—
In Blenheim’s honors felt less pride
  Than in the lady’s lovely hair.
 
Once ( shorn, she had coiled it there to wound
  Her lord when he should pass, ’t is said),        10
Shining across his path he found
  The glory of the woman’s head.
 
No sudden word, nor sullen look,
  In all his after days, confessed
He missed the charm whose absence took        15
  A scar’s pale shape within his breast.
 
I think she longed to have him blame,
  And soothe him with imperious tears:—
As if her beauty were the same,
  He praised her through his courteous years.        20
 
But when the soldier’s arm was dust,
  Among the dead man’s treasures, where
He laid it as from moth and rust,
  They found his wayward wife’s sweet hair.
 

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