Elizabeth Oakes Smith was a poet, fiction writer, editor, lecturer, and women’s rights activist whose career spanned six decades, from the 1830s to the 1880s. Most well- known at the start of her professional career for her poem "The Sinless Child" which appeared in the Southern Literary Messenger in 1842, her reputation today rests on her feminist writings, including "Woman and Her Needs," a series of essays published in the New York Tribune between 1850 and 1851 that argued for women’s spiritual and intellectual capacities as well as women’s equal rights to political and economic opportunities, including rights of franchise and higher education.
'Tis rushing now adown the spout,
And gushing out below,
Half frantic in its joyousness,
And wild in eager flow.
The earth is dried and parched with heat,
And it hath long'd to be
Released from out the selfish cloud,
To cool the thirsty tree.