Said the Rose

I am weary of the Garden,
     Said the Rose;
For the winter winds are sighing,
All my playmates round me dying,
And my leaves will soon be lying
     'Neath the snows.

But I hear my Mistress coming,
     Said the Rose;
She will take me to her chamber,
Where the honeysuckles clamber,
And I'll bloom there all December
     Spite the snows.

Sweeter fell her lily finger
     Than the bee!
Ah, how feebly I resisted,
Smoothed my thorns, and e'en assisted
As all blushing I was twisted
     Off my tree.

And she fixed me in her bosom
     Like a star;
And I flashed there all the morning,
Jasmin, honeysuckle scorning
Parasites forever fawning
     That they are.

And when evening came she set me
     In a vase
All of rare and radiant metal,
And I felt her red lips settle
On my leaves til each proud petal
     Touched her face.

And I shone about her slumbers
     Like a light
And, I said, instead of weeping,
In the garden vigil keeping,
Here I'll watch my Mistress sleeping
     Every night.

But when morning with its sunbeams
     Softly shone,
In the mirror where she braided
Her brown hair I saw how jaded,
Old and colorless and faded,
     I had grown.

Not a drop of dew was on me,
     Never one;
From my leaves no odors started,
All my perfume had departed,
I lay pale and broken-hearted
     In the sun.

Still I said, her smile is better
     Than the rain;
Though my fragrance may forsake me,
To her bosom she will take me,
And with crimson kisses make me
     Young again.

So she took me . . . gazed a second . . .
     Half a sigh . . .
Then, alas, can hearts so harden?
Without ever asking pardon,
Threw me back into the garden,
     There to die.

How the jealous garden gloried
     In my fall!
How the honeysuckle chid me,
How the sneering jasmins bid me
Light the long gray grass that hid me
     Like a pall.

There I lay beneath her window
     In a swoon,
Till the earthworm o'er me trailing
Woke me just at twilight's failing,
As the whip-poor-will was wailing
     To the moon

But I hear the storm-winds stirring
     In their lair;
And I know they soon will lift me
In their giant arms and sift me
Into ashes as they drift me
     Through the air.

So I pray them in their mercy
     Just to take
From my heart of hearts, or near it,
The last living leaf, and bear it
To her feet, and bid her wear it
     For my sake.

                 --George H. Miles