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Ten years of her girlhood, and then what a sin!
The first year was spent in training her feet
First her heels, then her head: the bow for a friend,
No bowing to God, no kneeling in prayer
To Him who had made her young life his fond care.
The heels, and the head- and then the poor heart,
Love impulses murdered and buried from sight;
And carved out a statue from warm, breathing clay.
Six long, moulding years, and one finishing term, That crushed from her heart the last child-like germ, And then she went home: a triumph of art, Accomplished, and dazzling, but minus a heart.
She could sing cavatinas with opera trill,
Could paint and embroider, powder and crochet,
Of all the rich teachings that fit us for life,
And thus she returned to her proud peerless home,
She ne'er thought of blessing, just lived to be blessed;
To all of life's crosses and cares "Not at home."
"Not at home" to the sorrow that needed her aid;
Not at home" to the stricken, with blood-crosses weighed; "Not at home" to the poor, whose blessings would braid Fresh stars for her crown in heaven inlaid,
Fresh notes for the harp that each god-child sweeps
"Not at home" to her friends, save she thought it worth while To curve a fresh dimple, or light a fresh smile;
"Not at home," "not at home," there's no flush on her cheek, No scar on her red lip at telling a lie;
For habit makes conscience both careless and weak,
And custom has sanctioned this unblushingly.
Is at home or not, as the case well may be,
O maiden to whom all things pure are given,
Why barter thy birthright, life's lease of bright hours,
Who would not far rather, in careless undress,
Come forth to the light -- ay, brave the whole world —
"She has bartered her soul for a fashionable lie:
CARRIE BELL SINCLAIR.
CHARLESTON journal calls Miss Sinclair "one of the sweetest muses that ever warbled the simple history of a nation's dead.” By her many patriotic poems she is best known, although she possesses the qualities requisite for a superior novel-writer.
Miss Sinclair has passed nearly all of her life in Georgia, which is her native State, having been born in Milledgeville, the capital of the State. Her father, the Rev. Elijah Sinclair, a Methodist minister, was a native of South Carolina, as was her mother, and had just entered upon his ministerial labors as a member of the Georgia Conference when Carrie was born. The Rev. Mr. Sinclair was of Scotch descent, his mother being a sister of Robert Fulton, the inventor of the first steamboat. He labored faithfully as a minister of the gospel until within a few years of his death, when failing health compelled him to leave the pulpit. At the time of his death, the Rev. Mr. Sinclair was teaching a school for young ladies in Georgetown, S. C. He left his widow and eight daughters- the eldest only married. Carrie Bell was a child at this time, and felt this great sorrow as only one who is possessed of a poetic temperament can feel. Some three years after the death of her father, a younger sister died, and his grave was opened that the child's dust might mingle with his. It was upon this occasion that Carrie Bell penned her first rhymes, telling her childish sorrow in song. Soon after, her mother removed to Augusta, and then she commenced her literary career, writing because she could not resist the spell that lingered around her, and not that she had any desire to venture upon the road to fame. Her first appearance in print was in a weekly literary paper published in Augusta, "The Georgia Gazette," under signature of "Clara."
In 1860, she published a volume of poems in Augusta, of which says a reviewer: "Here and there the poetical element glitters through like the sunlight between fresh green leaves, and shows that she possesses some of the elements necessary for success.
"If the mind with clear conceptions glow,
If the débutante has not given us a tree capable of sheltering us beneath its branches, she has at least presented us with some modest flowers, which we may gracefully wear on our breasts."
Shortly after the publication of this volume, she went to Savannah to reside, and, although not entirely abandoning the field of letters, yet she felt that new duties claimed her attention, and she could not be content to tread only the flowery fields of poetry and romance while war waged its wild desolation around her; and she turned her attention to the wants of the soldiers, and, when she wielded the pen, it was that she might in some way aid in the cause of her bleeding country, or record the deeds of her brave heroes in song and story. Of one of Miss Sinclair's poems, "The Southern Girl's Homespun Dress," the following remarks were made in "Frank Moore's Anecdotes and Incidents of the War, North and South":
"The accompanying song was taken from a letter of a Southern girl to her lover in Lee's army, which letter was obtained from a mail captured in Sherman's march through Northern Alabama. The materials of which the dress alluded to is made are cotton and wool, and woven on the hand-loom, so commonly seen in the houses at the South. The scrap of a dress, enclosed in the letter as a sample, was of a gray color, with a stripe of crimson and green, quite pretty, and creditable to the lady who made it."
Since the close of the war, Miss Sinclair has been busy with the and has contributed to most of the leading journals of the South and many in the North and West. For over two years she has been a regular contributor to the "Boston Pilot," from which widely circulated journal many of her poems have been copied into English and Irish papers.
The kind welcome extended to Miss Sinclair's first volume of poems served not only to lay the foundation of a literary life, but it has been the stepping-stone to the success that has crowned her later efforts, for had the harsh sentence of the critic fallen upon her earlier productions, a naturally timid and sensitive nature would have shrunk from the ordeal of again facing the public.
A second volume from Miss Sinclair will shortly appear, entitled, "Heart Whispers; or, Echoes of Song." A journal, noticing the advent of this volume, thus alludes to the poems and the poet :
"Miss Sinclair's poems abound with vigor, pathos, and the current of genuine poetic sentiment, united with almost faultless versification, breathing