A Basket of Flowers
from Dawn to Dusk Dawn On skies still and starlit White lustres take hold, And grey flushes scarlet, And red flashes gold. And sun-glories cover The rose shed above her, Like lover and lover They flame and unfold. Still bloom in the garden Green grass-plot, fresh lawn, Though pasture lands harden And drought fissures yawn. While leaves not a few fall, Let rose leaves for you fall, Leaves pearl-strung with dew-fall, And gold shot with dawn. Does the grass-plot remember The fall of your feet In autumn's red ember, When drought leagues with heat, When the last of the roses Despairingly closes In the lull that reposes Ere storm winds wax fleet? Love's melodies languish In "Chastelard's" strain, And "Abelard's" anguish Is love's pleasant pain! And "Sappho" rehearses Love's blessings and curses In passionate verses Again and again. And I!—I have heard of All these long ago, Yet never one word of Their song-lore I know; Not under my finger In songs of the singer Love's litanies linger, Love's rhapsodies flow. Fresh flowers in a basket— An offering to you— Though you did not ask it, Unbidden I strew; With heat and drought striving, Some blossoms still living May render thanksgiving For dawn and for dew. The garlands I gather, The rhymes I string fast, Are hurriedly rather Than heedlessly cast. Yon tree's shady awning Is short'ning, and warning Far spent is the morning, And I must ride fast. Songs empty, yet airy, I've striven to write, For failure, dear Mary! Forgive me—Good-night! Songs and flowers may beset you, I can only regret you, While the soil where I met you Recedes from my sight. For the sake of past hours, For the love of old times, Take "A Basket of Flowers", And a bundle of rhymes; Though all the bloom perish E'en YOUR hand can cherish, While churlish and bearish The verse-jingle chimes. And Eastward by Nor'ward Looms sadly MY track, And I must ride forward, And still I look back,— Look back—ah, how vainly! For while I see plainly, My hands on the reins lie Uncertain and slack. The warm wind breathes strong breath, The dust dims mine eye, And I draw one long breath, And stifle one sigh. Green slopes, softly shaded, Have flitted and faded— My dreams flit as they did— Good-night!—and—Good-bye! Dusk Lost rose! end my story! Dead core and dry husk— Departed thy glory And tainted thy musk. Night spreads her dark limbs on The face of the dim sun, So flame fades to crimson And crimson to dusk.
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