Carlotta Perry

Carlotta continued to write, with more and more of her poetry published in religious magazines like Missionary Tidings and The Christian Standard. Her life was a whirlwind for many years, as reported by the Milwaukee Sentinel in 1885.

“Miss Perry resides at the northwest corner of Mason and Jackson streets, where she has a cozy little study in which she does all her writing. A Sentinel reporter, who gained access to this secluded sanctum, found the authoress literally overwhelmed with her work. The Christmas season, with its extra numbers and special editions of periodicals and newspaper, proves a severe tax upon the writers who have achieved popularity, and Miss Perry has not escaped this penalty. She is now engaged entirely in supplying the various magazines and papers which number her among their correspondents.”

And yet, it seems, her gentle nature and commitment to thoughtful writing that did not sway from her convictions, may have prevented her from crossing over into more lasting fame. An article about Carlotta in the Waukesha Freeman seems to foretell Carlotta’s future.

“Miss Perry is unquestionably much more nearly a true poet than any other of the army of Wisconsin rhymers, but she is so modest and unassuming that we do not always accord her her fair place among her vigorous, practical self-assertive competitors.”

A poem included in her published collection may give us some insight into her nature.

The Unhidden Guest

Within my home that empty seemed, I sat
And prayed for greater blessings. All
That was mine own seemed poor and sadly small,
And I cried rebelliously for that

I had not, saying, if the good that gold
Can bring were mine, journeys in far-off lands,
With rest to weary feet, to burdened hands-
If love, the love I crave, would come and fold

Its arms around me, then would joy abide
With me forever; peace would come to bless,
And life would round out from this narrowness,
Into a fullness new and sweet and wide.

And so I fretted ‘gainst my simple lot;
And so I pined for broader, fairer ways,
Making a burden of the very days,
In mad regret for that which I had not.

And then one came unto my humble door,
And asked to enter, “Art thou Love?” I cried,
“Or wealth or fame? Else shalt thou be denied.”
She answered, “Nay, my child, but I am more.

“Open to me, I pray; make me thy guest
And thou wilt find, although no gift of gold,
Or fame or wealth within my hand I hold,
That with my coming cometh all the best

“That thou hast longed for,” Fair, though grave her face;
Soft was her voice, and in her steadfast eyes,
I saw the look of one both true and wise.
My heart was sore, and so, with tardy grace

I bade her enter. How transfigured
Seemed now the faithful love that at my feet
So long had lain unprized; how wide and sweet
Shone the small paths wherein I had been led.
Duty grew beautiful; with calm consent
I saw the distant wealth of land and sea;
And all fair things seemed given unto me,
The hour I clasped the hand of dear Content.

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