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Cornelia's Jewels

by Rosanna Eleanor Leprohon

Among the haughtiest of her sex, in noble, quiet pride,
Cornelia stood, with mien that seemed their folly vain to chide:
No jewels sparkled on her brow, so high, so purely fair,
No gems were mingled ’mid her waves of dark and glossy hair;
And yet was she, amidst them all, despite their dazzling mien,
A woman in her gentle grace—in majesty a queen.

While some now showed their flashing gems with vain, exulting air,
And others boasted of their toys, their trinkets rich and rare,
And challenged her to treasures bring that shone with equal light,
Proudly she glanced her dark eye o’er the store of jewels bright.
“Rich as these are,” she answered then, “and dazzling as they shine,
They cannot for one hour compete in beauty rare with mine!

“You all seem doubtful, and a smile of scorn your features wear,
Look on my gems, and say if yours are but one half as fair?”
The Roman matron proudly placed her children in their sight
Whose brows already bore the seal of intellectual might;
She pressed them to her, whilst each trait with radiance seemed to shine,
And murmur’d: “Tell me, dare you say, your jewels outshine mine?”

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