The Victory of Samothrace


MORNING and night a Toiler turned aside
Out of the fret and tumult of the street,
Into the dim gray halls, with silence sweet,
Where the great Victory marks the steady tide
Of centuries sweep along its currents wide, —
Headless, yet still with conquering life replete,
While bubble worlds go drifting past her feet,
And the great sculptors’ dreams alone abide
Morning and night the eager longing grew
That one might gather up the precious dust,
Trampled and strewn on Samothrace’s plain,
And shape the splendor of that face anew, —
The prophet eyes, the brow serene and just,
The gracious lips too calm for love’s dear pain.


Then, in a dream, he saw her glorious face.
Out of the sea-mists curdling round her breast
It dawned like some clear vision of the blest,
As a soft wind of God sighed through the place,
Lifting the eddying veil a little space.
But lo! the brow was scarred ; the eyes’ deep rest
Clouded with pity for the host that pressed,
A dim, sad multitude, in woeful case :
Women and men incredulous of good,
Captives set free, but bondmen still to fear,
And children weak that clutched her garment’s hem.
Tender and strong, with brooding hands she stood,
And, with a smile that brought the morning near,
Caught the new day and flashed its light on them.
Emily Huntington Miller.