A Celebration of Women Writers

"An Enigma." by Jane Taylor (1783-1824)
Publication: The Writings of Jane Taylor, In Five Volumes by Jane Taylor. Volume I, Memoirs and Poetical Remains.. Edited by Isaac Taylor, Jr., of Stanford Rivers. Boston: Perkins & Marvin, 1832. pp. 302-304.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

AN ENIGMA.

        YE philosophers hark!
        My complexion is dark!
Reflection and silence my character mark.

        No record on earth
        Discovers my birth,
Long reigned I in solitude, silence and dearth.

        I travel away,
        In sombre array:
But my turban and sandals are silvery grey.

        Majestic my mien,
        And my dark form is seen
All sparkling in gems, like an African queen.

[Page 303] 

        One pearl that I wear
        Is more brilliant and rare
Than the loveliest gem in a princess's hair.

        My stature is tall,
        But at seasons I crawl,
Or shrink myself almost to nothing at all.

        Invisibly hurled,
        I traverse the world,
And o'er every land is my standard unfurled.

        I silently roll
        Round the icy-bound pole:
And long the wide region endures my control.

        From earliest time
        I was grave and sublime:
But often am made the accomplice of crime.

        My intellect teems
        With visions and dreams,
And wild tales of terror, my favorite themes.

        Yet sorrow and pain
        Oft welcome my reign,
And eagerly watch for my coming again:

        For a handmaid of mine,
        With aspect benign,
Deals out, at my bidding, a soft anodyne.

        My sister down there,
        Is transcendently fair,
But we never once happened to meet any where.

[Page 304] 

        Advancing behold
        Her banners of gold!
Then I must away with my story half told.

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom