Over the plains where Persian hosts
Laid down their lives for glory
Flutter the cyclamens, like ghosts
That witness to their story.
Oh, fair! Oh, white! Oh, pure as snow!
On countless graves how sweet they grow!
Or crimson, like the cruel wounds
From which the life-blood, flowing,
Poured out where now on grassy mounds
The low, soft winds are blowing:
Oh, fair! Oh, red! Like blood of slain;
Not even time can cleanse that stain.
But when my dear these blossoms holds,
All loveliness her dower,
All woe and joy the past enfolds
In her find fullest flower.
Oh, fair! Oh, pure! Oh, white and red!
If she but live, what are the dead!
On The Road To Chorrera
Three horsemen galloped the dusty way
While sun and moon were both in the sky;
An old crone crouched in the cactus' shade,
And craved an alms as they rode by.
A friendless hag she seemed to be,
But the queen of a bandit crew was she.
One horseman tossed her a scanty dole,
A scoffing couplet the second trolled;
But the third, from his blue eyes frank and free,
No glance vouchsafed the beldam old;
As toward the sunset and the sea,
No evil fearing, rode the three.
A curse she gave for the pittance small,
A gibe for the couplet 's ribald word;
But that which once had been her heart
At sight of the silent horseman stirred:
And safe through the ambushed band they speed
For the sake of the rider who would not heed!
A Lover's Messengers
The earliest flowers of spring
To thee, beloved, I bring:
Anemone and graceful adder's-tongue,
With golden cowslips, yellow as the sun
And fresh as brooks by which they sprung;
Sweet violets that we love; and, one by one,
The blossoms that come after,-cherry blossom
And snow of shad-bush, willful columbine
In pale red raiment, and the milky stars
Of chickweed-wintergreen; slim walnut buds
In satin sheen, and furry curling ferns,
Like owlets half awake; with floods
Of alder tassels that dropp dust of gold
On the dark pools where, 'twixt the bars
Of piercing sunbeams, speckled troutlings dart.
And thus until the jocund year is old
And frosts spin cerements, white and chill,
O'er all the woodlands, fold on fold,
I tell the days with flowers, to mind thee still
Who, kind to blossoms, to me cruel art,
How swift is time, how constant is my heart.