A Celebration of Women Writers

"To A Sister, On Her Birth-Day, January 30, 1809." 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. 322-323.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

[Page 322] 

TO A SISTER,

ON HER BIRTH-DAY, JANUARY 30, 1809.

MY sister, companion, and friend,
  The guide of my devious way,
May a song of affection attend
  The return of this festival day!
We are friends by the earliest choice–
  Our union in childhood began–
And still we can weep, or rejoice,
  In unison only, my Ann.

While many in solitude walk,
  Together we travel along;
Or hang like twin buds on a stalk,
  (We may call ourselves flowers in song.)
The showers that kindly descend,
  Have nourished us both as they passed;
And together we shiver and blend,
  Assailed by the winterly blast.

But the blast, and the storm, and the shower,
  Have still been commissioned to spare;
Though fatal to many a flower,
  That grew in a gayer parterre:
And spreading sweet fragrancy wide,
  You flourish in verdure arrayed,
While, blighted and pale, at your side,
  I hang down my head in the shade.

[Page 323] 

My Ann, you had taken the lyre:
  And I, from the pattern you set,
Attempted the art to acquire,
  And often we played a duet:
But those who in grateful return,
  Have said they were pleased with the lay,
The discord could always discern:
  And yet I continued to play.

The garland the Muses have wrought,
  Your temples, my Ann, to entwine,
A few of the tendrils have caught,
  And so they appear upon mine:
But even the evergreens fade,
  And droop on my forehead, you see;
The wreath rather serves as a shade;
  'T is not ornamental to me.

But let every sigh be repressed,
  Since mutual our pleasures must be;–
The ivy that clings to its breast
  Is reckoned a part of the tree.
And oh! may we never divide,
  Till closed is this turbulent day!
Should I lose you, my sister and guide,
  How dreary the rest of the way!

The friends of our earliest years,
  (The gayest that ever we knew)
Alone, in this valley of tears,
  Have left us our way to pursue;–
But let these complainings subside,
  For blessings I cannot recall;
My Ann travels still by my side,
  And she is far dearer than all.

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Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom