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Poem by Madison Julius Cawein


Foreword to Weeds by the Wall


In the first rare spring of song,
    In my heart's young hours,
In my youth 't was thus I sang,
    Choosing 'mid the flowers: -

"Fair the Dandelion is,
    But for me too lowly;
And the winsome Violet
    Is, forsooth, too holy.
'But the Touchmenot?' Go to!
    What! a face that's speckled
Like a common milking-maid's,
    Whom the sun hath freckled.
Then the Wild-Rose is a flirt;
    And the trillium Lily,
In her spotless gown, 's a prude,
    Sanctified and silly.
By her cap the Columbine,
    To my mind, 's too merry;
Gossips, I would sooner wed
    Some plebeian Berry.
And the shy Anemone -
    Well, her face shows sorrow;
Pale, goodsooth! alive to-day,
    Dead and gone to-morrow.
Then that bold-eyed, buxom wench,
    Big and blond and lazy, -
She's been chosen overmuch! -
    Sirs, I mean the Daisy.
Pleasant persons are they all,
    And their virtues many;
Faith I know but good of each,
    And naught ill of any.
But I choose a May-apple;
    She shall be my Lady;
Blooming, hidden and refined,
    Sweet in places shady."

In my youth 'twas thus I sang,
    In my heart's young hours,
In the first rare spring of song,
    Choosing 'mid the flowers.
So I hesitated when
    Time alone was reckoned
By the hours that Fancy smiled,
    Love and Beauty beckoned.
Hard it was for me to choose
    From the flowers that flattered;
And the blossom that I chose
    Soon lay dead and scattered.
Hard I found it then, ah, me!
    Hard I found the choosing;
Harder, harder since I've found,
    Ah, too hard the losing.
Haply had I chosen then
    From the weeds that tangle
Wayside, woodland and the wall
    Of my garden's angle,
I had chosen better, yea,
    For these later hours -
Longer last the weeds, and oft
    Sweeter are than flowers.



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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