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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous Sarah Knowles Bolton

Louisa M. Alcott

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At thirteen she wrote My Kingdom. When, years afterward, Mrs. Eva Munson Smith wrote to her, asking for some poems for Woman in Sacred Song, Miss Alcott sent her this one, saying, "It is the only hymn I ever wrote. It was composed at thirteen, and as I still find the same difficulty in governing my kingdom, it still expresses my soul's desire, and I have nothing better to offer."

    "A little kingdom I possess
    Where thoughts and feelings dwell,
    And very hard the task I find
    Of governing it well;
    For passion tempts and troubles me,
    A wayward will misleads,
    And selfishness its shadow casts
    On all my words and deeds.

    "How can I learn to rule myself,
    To be the child I should,
    Honest and brave, and never tire
    Of trying to be good?
    How can I keep a sunny soul
    To shine along life's way?
    How can I tune my little heart
    To sweetly sing all day?

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    "Dear Father, help me with the love
    That casteth out my fear;
    Teach me to lean on Thee, and feel
    That Thou art very near:
    That no temptation is unseen,
    No childish grief too small,
    Since Thou, with patience infinite,
    Doth soothe and comfort all.

    "I do not ask for any crown,
    But that which all may win;
    Nor try to conquer any world
    Except the one within.
    Be Thou my guide until I find,
    Led by a tender hand,
    Thy happy kingdom in myself,
    And dare to take command."

Louisa was very imaginative, telling stories to her sisters and her mates, and at sixteen wrote a book for Miss Ellen Emerson, entitled Flower Fables. It was not published till six years later, and then, being florid in style, did not bring her any fame. She was now anxious to earn her support. She was not the person to sit down idly and wait for marriage, or for some rich relation to care for her; but she determined to make a place in the world for herself. She says in Little Women, "Jo's ambition was to do something very splendid; what it was she had no idea, as yet, but left it for time to tell her," and at sixteen the time had come to make the attempt.

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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous
Sarah Knowles Bolton

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