take metrical shape; she laughed, wept, prayedeven stormed, in verse.
Walking with her one day, her sister Annie, always half angel, half sprite, pointed to an object in the road.
“Dudie dear,” she said; “squashed frog!
little verse, dear?”
We may laugh with the two sisters, but under the laughter lies a deep sense of the poet's nature.
As in her dreamy girlhood she prayed-
Oh! give me back my golden lyre!
so in later life she was to pray--
On the Matron's time-worn mantle
Let the Poet's wreath be laid.
The tide of song had been checked for a time; after the second visit to Rome
, it flowed more freely than ever.
By the winter of 1853-54, a volume was ready (the poems chosen and arranged with the help of James T. Fields
), and was published by Ticknor
and Fields under the title of “Passion flowers.”
No name appeared on the title-page; she had thought to keep her incognito
, but she was recognized at once as the author, and the book became the literary sensation of the hour.
It passed rapidly through three editions; was, she says, “much praised, much blamed, and much called in question.”
She writes to her sister Annie:
The history of all these days, beloved, is comprised in one phrase, the miseries of proof-reading.
Oh, the endless, endless plague of looking over these proofsheets — the doubts about phrases, rhymes, and expressions,