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LITTLE, Elizabeth Mary


O LIFE! that mystery that no man knows,
And all men ask: the Arab from his sands,
The Caesar's self, lifting imperial hands,
And the lone dweller where the lotus blows;
O'er trackless tropics, and o'er silent snows,
She dumbly broods, that Sphinx of all the lands;
And if she answers, no man understands,
And no cry breaks the blank of her repose.
But a new form rose once upon my pain,
With grave, sad lips, but in the eyes a smile
Of deepest meaning dawning sweet and slow,
Lighting to service, and no more in vain
I ask of Life, "What art thou?" -- as erewhile --
For since Love holds my hand I seem to know!