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Poem by Madison Julius Cawein

The Jessamine and the Morning-Glory


On a sheet of silver the morning-star lay
 Fresh, white as a baby child,
And laughed and leaped in his lissome way,
 On my parterre of flowers smiled.
For a morning-glory's spiral bud
 Of shell-coned tallness slim
Stood ready to burst her delicate hood
 And bloom on the dawning dim:
A princess royal in purple born
To beauty and pride in the balmy morn.


And she shook her locks at the morning-star
 And her raiment scattered wide;
Low laughed at a hollyhock's scimetar,
 Its jewels of buds to deride.
The pomegranate near, with fingers of flame,
 The hot-faced geraniums nigh,
Their proud heads bowed to the queenly dame
 For they knew her state was high:
The fuchsia like a bead of blood
Bashfully blushed in her silvery hood.


All wit that this child of the morning light
 Was queen of the morn and them,
That the orient star in his beams of white
 Was her prince in a diadem;
For lavish he showered those pearls that flash
 And cluster the front of her smock;
From his lordly fingers of rays did dash
 Down zephyrs her crib to rock.
But a jessamine pale 'neath the arbor grew,
Meek, selfless, and sweet, and a virgin true.


But the morning-glory disdained her birth,
 Of her chastity made a scorn:
"I marvel," she said, "if thy mother earth
 Was not sick when thou wast born!
Thou art pale as an infant an hour dead -
 Wan thing, dost weary our eye!"
And she weakly laughed and stiffened her head
 And turned to her love i' the sky.
But the jessamine turned to the rose beside
With a heavy glance and but sadly sighed.


And the orient grew to a wealth of bars
 'Neath which foam-fires churned,
And the princess proud saw her lord of stars
 In a torrid furnace burned;
And the giant of life with his breath of flame
 Glared down with one red eye,
And 'neath his breath this gorgeous dame
 In her diamonds did wilt and die;
But the jessamine fragrant waxed purer with light;
For my lady's bosom I culled it that night.

Madison Julius Cawein

Madison Julius Cawein's other poems:
  1. The Wood God
  2. Poe
  3. Dogtown
  4. Love's Calendar
  5. Fall

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