Love In The Summer Hills

Love in the summer hills,
With youth to mock at ills,
And kisses sweet to cheat
Our idle tears away.
What else has Time in store,
Till Life shall close the door?
Still let me sing love's lore,
Come sorrow when it may.

Rain on the weeping hills,
With Death to end our ills,
And only thought unsought
To point our joys' decay.
Oh Life is wounded sore
And Grief's mad waters roar.
Yet will I love once more
To--day as yesterday.

If I Had Known You

If I had known you--oh, if I had known you!
In other days when youth and love were strong,
I would have raised a temple to enthrone you
On some fair pinnacle of cloudless song.

If you had touched me then with your dear laughter,
As now its echo smites me in my grief,
I would have given my soul to you, and after
Lived in my love, grown old in my belief.

If you had loved me,--oh, you would have loved me!
Earth would have worshipped us, its seers sublime,
My song had been a psalm, and Saints had proved me
Prophet and priest, your poet for all time.

Natalia’s Resurrection: Sonnet Xviii

Nor were the rest astonished. Even he,
Natalia's lord, in all complacent grace
Looked on approving of her act when she
Stepped forward with her face to Adrian's face,
And touched his lips and told him of the truth
How all was ended now of her old life,
With the sad barrier that had marred their youth:
Husband no longer and no longer wife,
Natalia had grown free. Then the proud lover
Gave thanks to God and took her arm in his,
Fearless how now their love they should discover
To any anger of suspicious eyes,
And led her forth his bride before them all
With solemn music to the banquet--hall.

Esther, A Sonnet Sequence: Viii

It was a booth no larger than the rest,
No loftier fashioned and no more sublime,
As poor a shrine as ever youth possessed
In which to worship truth revealed in time.
Yet to my soul the mean remembrance clings
With all the folly of that far fair eve,
And my pulse throbs with lost imaginings,
And passion rises from its grave to grieve.
Vain dreams, brute images! and over all
The shrill--voiced dwarf its hierarch and priest,
Vaunting its praise, a pagan prince of Baal.
It scared me as of some wild idol feast.
``The Booth of Beauty,'' thus it was I read,
Blazoned in scarlet letters overhead.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iii: Gods And False Gods: Lxx

Why was I born in this degenerate age?
Or rather why, a thousand times, with soul
Of such degenerate stuff that a mute rage
Is all its reason, tears the only toll
It takes on life, and impotence its goal?
Why was I born to this sad heritage
Of fierce desires which cannot fate control,
Of idle hopes life never can assuage?
Why was I born thus weak?--Oh to have been
A merry fool, at jest with destiny;
A free hand ready and a heart as free;
A ruffler in the camps of Mazarin!
Oh for the honest soul of d'Artagnan,
Twice happy knave, a Gascon and a man!

Esther, A Sonnet Sequence: Xxvii

At such a time indeed of youth's first morn,
There is a heaving of the soul in pain,
A mighty labour as of joys unborn,
Which grieves it and disquiets it in vain.
The soul is scared at her own lack of peace,
Her cradle song is mute, and she has fled
From her old life as to a wilderness.
She finds herself awake and without bread.
'Tis then the body, her new counsellor,
Speaks in her ear, and still with eloquence
Pleads for more action, and his voice to her
Is sweet with love, and sadly she consents.
There is a day of youth which needs must come
When each must learn his life and leave his home.

Natalia’s Resurrection: Sonnet Viii

And so it was that, sitting ever thus
Dumb to all speech of those that knew her woe
And bare with her sole sorrow in the house,
And ever watching with sad eyes below
To see if any came with help for her
Whom none could help with pity or with pride
Or word of patience, ere her time was near,
She bore her yet unliving child and died.
There was great mourning for her in those days
Because of her high lineage and fair youth.
Men knowing her spoke nobly in her praise,
Or knowing not yet mourned for very ruth.
And all Rome wept for her, and far and wide
The fame was noised how of her love she died.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Ii: To Juliet: Xxxii

Why do we fret at the inconstancy
Of our frail hearts, which cannot always love?
Time rushes onward, and we mortals move
Like waifs upon a river, neither free
To halt nor hurry. Sweet, if destiny
Throws us together for an hour, a day,
In the back--water of this quiet bay,
Let us rejoice. Before us lies the sea,
Where we must all be lost in spite of love.
We dare not stop to question. Happiness
Lies in our hand unsought, a treasure trove.
Time has short patience of man's vain distress;
And fate grows angry at too long delay;
And floods rise fast, and we are swept away.

A Woman’s Sonnets: Ii

Nay, dear one, ask me not to leave thee yet.
Let me a little longer hold thy hand.
Too soon it is to bid me to forget
The joys I was so late to understand.
The future holds but a blank face for me,
The past is all confused with tears and grey,
But the sweet present, while thy smiles I see,
Is perfect sunlight, an unclouded day.
Speak not of parting, not at least this hour,
Though well I know Love cannot Time outlast.
Let me grow wiser first and gain more power,
More strength of will to deal with my dead past.
Love me in silence still, one short hour's space:
'Tis all I ask of thee, this little grace.

Esther, A Sonnet Sequence: I

When is life other than a tragedy,
Whether it is played in tears from the first scene,
In sable robes and grief's mute pageantry,
For loves that died ere they had ever been,
Or whether on the edge of joys set keen,
While all the stage with laughter is agog,
Death stepping forward with an altered mien
Pulls off his mask, and speaks the epilogue?
Life is a play acted by dying men,
Where, if its heroes seem to foot it well
And go light--tongued without grimace of pain,
Death will be found anon. And who shall tell
Which part was saddest, or in youth or age,
When the tired actor stops and leaves the stage?

He Makes An End

What shall I tell you, dear, who have told all,
What do, whose wish, whose will is manacled,
What dare, whose duty at your festival
Is but to light the candles round Love's bed?
How can I sing to you uncomforted
By any crumb of kindness Joy lets fall?
Unsexed am I by service, heart and head.
Nay, let me sleep and turn me to the wall.
--Alas there is a day when all joy dies,
Through stress of time and tears' thin nourishment
And that dumb peace of Age which veils the end.
Here am I come, and here I close my eyes,
With what I may of dreams (they naught portend),
Framing your face, the last before Love went.

The Rowfant Catalogue

Friends had he many, neighbours next to none.
Rowfant and Crabbet lay few fields apart.
Each Sunday saw him here, his church drill done,
Duly stroll in to talk of books and art,
Entrapped, may--be, to share my modest tart,
Roast fowl and claret, and an evening won
In stealth from Sabbath bonds strange to his heart.
Childlike he prized these truant bursts of fun.
--Long years ago! It needs his wit to jog
Old time to life. Yet I remember well
Companioning him home to the hill's top
Keen on his books, and how he paused to tell
Eager the first news of this Catalogue.
Reading it, see, the tears come and I stop.

A New Pilgrimage: Sonnet Xxx

'Tis time I stepped from Horeb to the plain.
Mountains, farewell. I need a heavier air.
Youth's memories are not good for souls in pain,
And each new age has its own meed of care.
Farewell, sad Alps, you are my barrier
Now to the North, and hold my passions slain
For all life's vultures, as I downward fare
To a new land of love which is not vain.
How staid is Italy! No gardened rose
Scattering its leaves is chaster than she is.
No cloister stiller, no retreat more close.
There is a tameness even in her seas
On which white towns look down, as who should say,
``Here wise men long have lived, and live to--day.''

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iv: Vita Nova: Cviii

Spirit of Trajan! What a world is here,
What remnant of old Europe in this wood,
Of life primaeval rude as in the year
When thy first legions by the Danube stood.
These are the very Dacians they subdued,
Swineherds and shepherds clad in skins of deer
And fox and marten still, a bestial brood,
Than their own swine begotten swinelier.
The fair oak--forest, their first heritage,
Pastures them still, and still the hollow oak
Receives them in its bosom. Still o'erhead
Upon the stag--head tops, grown hoar with age,
Calm buzzards sit and ancient ravens croak,
And all with solemn life is tenanted.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iii: Gods And False Gods: Lxxviii

There is no comfort underneath the sun.
Youth turns to age; riches are quickly spent;
Pride breeds us pain, our pleasures punishment.
The very courage which we count upon
A single night of fever shall break down,
And love is slain by fear. Death last of all
Spreads out his nets and watches for our fall.
There is no comfort underneath the sun!
--When thou art old, O man, if thou wert proud
Be humble; pride will here avail thee not.
There is no courage which can conquer death.
Forget that thou wert wise. Nay, keep thy breath
For prayer, that so thy wisdom be forgot
And thou perhaps get pity of thy God.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iii: Gods And False Gods: Lviii

Why practise, love, this small economy
Of your heart's favours? Can you keep a kiss
To be enjoyed in age? And would the free
Expense of pleasure leave you penniless?
Nay, nay. Be wise. Believe me, pleasure is
A gambler's token, only gold to--day.
The day of love is short, and every bliss
Untasted now is a bliss thrown away.
'Twere pitiful, in truth, such treasures should
Lie by like miser's crusts till mouldy grown.
Think you the hand of age will be less rude
In touching your sweet bosom than my own?
Alas, what matter, when our heads are grey,
Whether you loved or did not love to--day?

A New Pilgrimage: Sonnet Xix

Alas, that words like these should be but folly!
Behold, the Boulevard mocks, and I mock too.
Let us away and purge our melancholy
With the last laughter at the Ambigu!
Here all is real. Here glory's self is true
Through each regime to its own mission holy
Of plying still the world with something new
To cure its ache, or nobly souled or lowly.
One title Paris holds above the rest
Untouched by time or fortune's change or frown,
One temple of high fame, where she sits dressed
In youth eternal, and mirth's myrtle crown,
And where she writes, each night, with deathless hands,
``To all the glories--of the stage--of France.''

A New Pilgrimage: Sonnet Ix

These were in truth brave days. From our high perch,
The box--seat of our travelling chariot, then
We children spied the world 'twas ours to search,
And mocked like birds at manners and at men.
What wonders we beheld, Havre, Rouen, Caen,
The Norman caps, the Breton crowds in church,
The loyal Loire, the valorous Vendéen,
And all the Revolution left in lurch
That very year--things old as Waterloo.
But when we neared the mountains crowned with snows,
And heard the torrents roar, our wonder grew
Over our wit, and a new pleasure rose
Wild in our hearts, and stopped our tongues with dread,
The sense of death and beauty overhead.

Esther, A Sonnet Sequence: Xxxiv

She saw me in an instant, and stopped short
With a sudden change of look from fierce to gay.
Her black eyes gleamed with triumph as they caught,
Like some wild bird of chase, their natural prey.
``Ha, ha,'' she cried, ``c'est lui, c'est l'ingénu.
Ah, vagabond! 'Tis thus you find me out.
Standing en faction, and at midnight too,
At the actors door, with no more fear or doubt
Than any sinner of them all. Oh wise!
Who would have guessed it? No. You shall not speak.
You shall not soil your innocent lips with lies
For any foolish reason in the week,
Nor for the year together if you told
Your stories here till both of us grew old.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iv: Vita Nova: Xcix

Youth, ageless youth, the old gods' attribute!
--To inherit cheeks a--tingle with such blood
As wood nymphs blushed, who to the first--blown flute
Went out in endless dancing through the wood.
To live, and taste of that immortal food
After the wild day's waste prepared for us
By deathless hands, and straightway be renewed,
Like the god's entrails upon Caucasus.
To rise at dawn with eye and brain and sense
Clear as the pale green edge where dawn began,
While each bold thought full shapen should arise,
Cutting the horizon of experience,
Sharp as an obelisk.--Ah, wretched Man!
'Tis little wonder that the gods are wise.

A New Pilgrimage: Sonnet Xxvi

Youth is all valiant. He and I together,
Conscious of strength, and unreproved of wrong,
Strained at the world's conventions as a tether
Too weak to bind us, and burst forth in song.
The backs of fools we scourged as with a thong,
And falsehood stripped to its last borrowed feather,
And vowed to fact what things to fact belong,
And of the rest asked neither why nor whether.
Gravely we triumphed in that Gorgon time,
Unsexed for us at length thro' lack of faith,
Our barren mistress, from whose womb sublime
No beauty more should spring, but only death.
Like birds we sang by some volcanic brink,
Leaning on ugliness, and did not shrink.

A New Pilgrimage: Sonnet Xxxviii

I saw one sitting on a kingly throne,
A man of age, whom Time had touched with white;
White were his brows, and white his vestment shone,
And white the childhood of his lips with light,
Only his eyes gleamed masterful and bright,
Holding the secrets shut of worlds unknown,
And in his hand the sceptre lay of might,
To bind and loose all souls beneath the sun.
Where is the manhood, where the Godhood here?
The weak things of the world confound the wise.
Here is all weakness, let us cast out fear.
Here is all strength. Ah, screen me from those eyes,
The terrible eyes of Him who sees unseen
The thing that is, and shall be, and has been.

A New Pilgrimage: Sonnet Xviii

Therefore do thou at least arise and warn,
Not folded in thy mantle, a blind seer,
But naked in thy anger, and new--born,
As in the hour when thy voice sounded clear
To the world's slaves, and tyrants quaked for fear.
Thou hadst a message then, a word of scorn,
First for thyself, thy own crimes' challenger,
And next for those who withered in thy dawn.
An hundred years have passed since that fair day,
And still the world cries loud, in its desire,
That right is wronged, and force alone has sway.
What profit are they, thy guns' tongues of fire?
Nay, leave to England her sad creed of gold;
Plead thou Man's rights, clean--handed as of old.

Love Rides Disguised

What name is his, thy knight's? Nay, ask it not.
If fate should hear thee, child, what griefs might come.
Love rides disguised. He fears a counterplot
For his own plot of joy in heathendom.
Restrained he goes; a single rose--red plume
Is all his badge. No blazon hath he wrought,
Device nor sign; his motto ``sum qui sum.''
Silent is he of Court and Camelot.
--Be wise, sweetheart, nor tempt time to mischance.
Love at his own hour shall his whole face show.
Oh, if thou hast not seen him, thou shalt see!
Undo shalt thou his helm with thy blest hands,
Nurse his tired head upon thy pitying knee.
Then shall he tell all, and thou all shalt know.

To A Disciple Of William Morris

Stand fast by the ideal. Hero be,
You in your youth, as he from youth to age.
Dare to be last, least, in good modesty,
Nor fret thy soul for speedier heritage.
Even as he lived, live thou, laborious, sage,
Yielding thy flower, leaf, fruitage seasonably,
Content if but some beauty in Time's page
Out of thy being spring and live through thee.
Churl Fame shall grudge (ah, let it grudge!) thee glory.
Knaves have earned that. Behold, the blossoming thorn
Emblazoneth the hedge where fools made foray,
Redeemeth their sad flouts and jibes forlorn.
Ere thou shalt guess, the nightingale thy story
Learning shall speak of thee and shame their scorn.

Youth And Knowledge

What price, child, shall I pay for your bright eyes
(How large a debt!) the light they shed on me?
What for your cheeks, so red in their surprise,
Your lips, your hands, your maiden gestures free,
Your fair brows crowned with grave nobility,
All the delight which in your presence lies,
The words unsaid, the deeds which dare not be,
The dreams undreamed, my meed of Paradise?
--Nay, I can pay naught; your poor bankrupt I,
Since gold may not nor frankincense nor myrrh
Serve my account nor any gift of kings.
Yet be my wealth yours, joys that fools deny,
Knowledge of life, love, power as presbyter,
The wit to teach youth's zeal to use its wings.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iv: Vita Nova: Xcvi

If I could live without the thought of death,
Forgetful of time's waste, the soul's decay,
I would not ask for other joy than breath
With light and sound of birds and the sun's ray.
I could sit on untroubled day by day
Watching the grass grow, and the wild flowers range
From blue to yellow and from red to grey
In natural sequence as the seasons change.
I could afford to wait, but for the hurt
Of this dull tick of time which chides my ear.
But now I dare not sit with loins ungirt
And staff unlifted, for death stands too near.
I must be up and doing--ay, each minute.
The grave gives time for rest when we are in it.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iii: Gods And False Gods: Lxvii

Your youth flowed on, a river chaste and fair,
Till thirty years were written to your name.
A wife, a mother, these the titles were
Which conquered for you the world's fairest fame.
In all things you were wise but in this one,
That of your wisdom you yourself did doubt.
Youth spent like age, no joy beneath the sun.
Your glass of beauty vainly running out.
Then suddenly again, ere well you knew,
Love looked upon you tenderly, yet sad:
``Are these wise follies, then, enough for you?''
He said;--``Love's wisdom were itself less mad.''
And you: ``What wouldst thou of me?'' ``My bare due,
In token of what joys may yet be had.''

The Two Highwaymen

I LONG have had a quarrel set with Time
Because he robb'd me. Every day of life
Was wrested from me after bitter strife:
I never yet could see the sun go down
But I was angry in my heart, nor hear
The leaves fall in the wind without a tear
Over the dying summer. I have known
No truce with Time nor Time's accomplice, Death.
   The fair world is the witness of a crime
Repeated every hour. For life and breath
Are sweet to all who live; and bitterly
The voices of these robbers of the heath
Sound in each ear and chill the passer-by.
--What have we done to thee, thou monstrous Time?
What have we done to Death that we must die?

An Autumn Sonnet

These little presents of your tenderness,
Although less grand a gift than was your love,
Are dear to me in this October stress
Of wind and war and whirling leaves above.
They comfort my soul's Autumn, and they prove
How little time can do, to ban or bless,
How much ourselves. You willed the years should move
Back in their cycle. And behold, love, this!
--Now, therefore, let us mark this fortunate day,
And use it for our feast day. Every year
Let us, when winds are high and the leaves fall,
Hold in this house our love's memorial,
Sitting thus hand in hand. Still let me lay
As in the happy days, ere leaves were sere,
My head upon your lap and call you ``dear.''

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iii: Gods And False Gods: Lxxv

And then fate strikes us. First our joys decay.
Youth, with its pleasures, is a tale soon told.
We grow a little poorer day by day.
Old friendships falter. Loves grow strangely cold.
In vain we shift our hearts to a new hold
And barter joy for joy, the less for less.
We doubt our strength, our wisdom, and our gold.
We stand alone, as in a wilderness
Of doubts and terrors. Then, if we be wise,
We make our terms with fate and, while we may,
Sell our life's last sad remnant for a hope.
And it is wisdom thus to close our eyes.
But for the foolish, those who cannot pray,
What else remains of their dark horoscope
But a tall tree and courage and a rope?

The Idler’s Calendar. Twelve Sonnets For The Months. June


It is our custom, once in every year,
Mine and two others', when the chestnut trees
Are white at Bushey, Ascot being near,
To drive to Hampton Court, and there, at ease
In that most fair of English palaces,
Spend a long summer's day. What better cheer
Than the old ``Greyhound's,'' seek it where you please?
And where a royal garden statelier?

The morning goes in tennis, a four set,
With George the marker. 'Tis a game for gods,
Full of return and volley at the net,
And laughter and mirth--making episodes
Not wholly classic. But the afternoon
Finds us punt--fishing idly with our rods,
Nodding and half in dreams, till all too soon
Darkness and dinner drive us back to town.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Ii: To Juliet: Xxxi

I cannot love you, love, as you love me,
In singleness of soul, and faith untried:
I have no faith in any destiny,
In any Heaven, even at your side.
Our hearts are all too weak, the world too wide,
You but a woman. If I dare to give
Some thought, some tenderness, a little pride,
A little love, 'tis yours, love, to receive.
And do not grieve, though now the gift appear
A drop to your love's ocean. Time shall see.
--Oh, I could prophesy:--That day is sure,
Though not perhaps this week, nor month, nor year,
When your great love shall clean forgotten be,
And my poor tenderness shall yet endure.
'Tis not the trees that make the tallest show,
Which stand out stoutest when the tempests blow.

The Idler’s Calendar. Twelve Sonnets For The Months. February


In all the comedy of human things
What is more mirthful than for those, who sit
Far from the great world's vain imaginings,
To mingle in its war of words and wit,
A listener here, when Greek meets Greek, Fox Pitt,
At question--time in the Queen's Parliament?
'Tis the arena of old Rome. Here meet
More than mere Dacians on mere slaughter bent.

Yonder and close to Mr. Speaker's chair,
Enfolding all things in a net of words,
Stands our first gymnast. Let the rest beware.
The Tory Stafford, with voice sweet as bird's,
Shall answer him anon, or bolder borne
And if luck favours, from the nether herds
A voice of patriot wrath shall rise in scorn,
Or even young Cassius blow his windy horn.

The Idler’s Calendar. Twelve Sonnets For The Months. November


November's here. Once more the pink we don,
And on old Centaur, at the coverside,
Sit changing pleasant greetings one by one
With friend and neighbour. Half the county's pride
Is here to--day. Squire, parson, peer, bestride
Their stoutest nags, impatient to be gone.
Here, schoolboys on their earliest ponies ride,
And village lads on asses, not out--done.

But hark! That sounds like music. Ay, by God!
He's off across the fallow. ``No, sirs, no;
``Not yet a minute, just another rod!
``Then let him have it. Ho, there, tallyho!''
Now that's worth seeing! Look! He's topped the wall,
Leaving his whole field pounded in a row.
A first flight place to--day was worth a fall.
So forward each, and Heaven for us all!

Night On Our Lives

Night on our lives, ah me, how surely has it fallen!
Be they who can deceived. I dare not look before.
See, sad years, to your own; your little wealth long hoarded,
How sore it was to win, how soon it perished all!
Beauty, the one face loved, the pure eyes mine so worshipped,
So true, so touching once, so tender in their dreams!
Find me that hour again. I yield the rest uncounted,
Urns for the dust of time, divine in her sole tears.
--Unseen one! Unforgotten! Oh, if your eyes behold it
By chance, this page revealed which trembling hides your name,
Merged in the ultimate wreck of fame and meaner joys!
Co--partner be with me in this my soul's last sorrow,
Pearl of my hidden life, this grief, that not again
Unspoiled love's rose shall blow, the dear love which was ours.

In Memoriam W.M & E.B.J.

Mad are we all, maids, men, young fools alike and old,
All we that wander blind and want the with to dare.
Dark through the world we go, dazed sheep, across life's wold,
Edged from the flowers we loved by our herd's crook of care.
Life? Have we lived it? No. We were not as these were,
Intent, untiring souls who proved time till their death.
Nay we were sluggards, all, how crazed in our despair
Each day of their fame won here nobly witnesseth.
--What is life's wealth? To do. Its loss? To dream and wait.
Years vanish unfulfilled; but work achieved lives on.
Not all Time's beauty died when these two fell asleep.
Dear Madeline, if we grieve our own less strenuous fate,
Heaven send us still this strength, this joy, now they are gone
At least like these to love, even though mad fools we weep.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iii: Gods And False Gods: Lxix

When first, a boy, at your fair knees I kneeled,
'Twas with a worthy offering. In my hand
My young life's book I held, a volume sealed,
Which none but you, I deemed, might understand.
And you I did entreat to loose the band
And read therein your own soul's destiny.
But, Tarquin--like, you turned from my demand,
Too proudly fair to find your fate in me.
When now I come, alas, what hands have turned
Those virgin pages! Some are torn away,
And some defaced, and some with passion burned,
And some besmeared with life's least holy clay.
Say, shall I offer you these pages wet
With blood and tears? And will your sorrow read
What your joy heeded not?--Unopened yet
One page remains. It still may hold a fate,
A counsel for the day of utter need.
Nay, speak, sad heart, speak quick. The hour is late.
Age threatens us. The Gaul is at the gate.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iii: Gods And False Gods: Lxxvii

Oh who would live again to suffer loss?
Once in my youth I battled with my fate,
Grudging my days to death. I would have won
A place by violence beneath the sun.
I took my pleasures madly as by force,
Even the air of heaven was a prize.
I stood a plunderer at death's very gate,
And all the lands of life I did o'errun
With sack and pillage. Then I scorned to die,
Save as a conqueror. The treasuries
Of love I ransacked; pity, pride and hate.
All that can make hearts beat or brim men's eyes
With living tears I took as robes to wear.
--But see, now time has struck me on the hip.
I cannot hate nor love. My senses are
Struck silent with the silence of my lip.
No courage kindles in my heart to dare,
No strength to do. The world's last phantoms slip
Out of my grasp, and naught is left but pain.
Love, life, vain strength!--Oh who would live again?

The Death Of The Rose

Ah! life, dear life, thy summer days have flown
Swiftly yet all too late, for they did wither.
Joy should be joy for one short hour alone,
Or it will lose its loveliness for ever.

I did not spare to use the cruel knife,
But cut the rose as soon as it was day,
And gave it to my love. Its little life
Passed, like a sigh, from Nature's breast away.

Full--hearted flower, thou didst not shrink nor flee
When the steel touched thee. No sad memories
Made what thou knew not terrible to thee,
And death came on thee like a sad surprise.

Too happy flower! I would my love had died
At unawares, by such a death as thine.
I should have slain my love in its full pride,
So had it lived and been for ever mine,

A treasure for all joy to ponder on,
Laid up for aye in old Time's palaces,
A ``thing of beauty'' which my soul had won,
And death had made undying with a kiss.

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