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Shortly before the official start of winter, I published an article touting the benefits of winter walks – with an assist from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic The Secret Garden. I hope our readers have had many fine winter walks. While the beginning of March is not the end of winter here, it is a harbinger of the spring to come. The thaw of spring is not entirely pleasant for allergy-sufferers and mosquito bait, but it does make early-morning and late-evening walks quite a bit more enjoyable.

Introducing “The Evening Walk” by Richard Coe

The February 1854 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book had a poem on the subject of the evening walk. Whether it was at all prompted by the impending arrival of spring, I know not. But in light of the changing conditions – and longer daylight – it seemed to me to be a fitting occasion to continue my project of bringing to light mostly-forgotten content from long-forgotten magazines.

Godey’s Lady’s Book was published in Philadelphia from 1830 to 1878. According to the Wikipedia page on the magazine, “[i]t was the most widely circulated magazine in the period before the Civil War.”

“The Evening Walk” by Richard Coe

Engraving by H.G. Armstrong for "The Evening Walk" by Richard Coe, a poem that appeared in the February 1854 issue of Godey's Lady's Book
Engraving by HG Armstrong for “The Evening Walk” – clipped from Godey’s Lady Book
Upon her head she gently hrew
     A veil of fabric light,
To shield her from the pearly dew
     That mingled with the night:
Then with a motion light and free—
     No proud and stately stalk—
The lady of the mansion rose
     To take her evening walk

Thou placid moon, and you, ye stars,
     That nightly deck the sky,
Ye must not look in envy on
     The brightness of her eye;
And you, ye babbling waters near,
     That make my soul rejoice,
Ye must be silent when ye hear
     The music of her voice!

Ye moon and stars and babbling fount,
     Your choicest blessings throw
Across the pathway of my fair,
     Wherever she may go!
And if I soothe her cares the while,
     With fine poetic talk
Perhaps on me she'll deign to smile
     In some sweet evening walk!