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Lyrics of Lowly Life (1896)
With an introduction by W.D. Howells
First published by Dodd, Mead and Company
Copyright 1895 and 1896
Promise and Fulfillment
I grew a rose within a garden fair
And tending it, with more than loving care,
I thought how, with the glory of its bloom,
I should the darkness of my life illume;
And watching, ever smiled to see the lusty bud,
Drink freely in the summer sun to tinct its blood.
My rose began to open, and its hue
Was sweet to me as to it, sun and dew;
I watched it taking on its ruddy flame
Until the day of perfect blooming came,
Then, hasted I with smiles, to find it blushing red--
Too late! Some thoughtless child had plucked my
rose and fled!
I grew a rose once more to please mine eyes.
All things to aid it, dew, sun, wind, fair skies
Were kindly; and to shield it from despoil,
I fenced it safely in with grateful toil.
No other hand than mine shall pluck this flower said I,
And I was jealous of the bee that hovered nigh.
It grew for days, I stood hour after hour
To watch the slow unfolding of the flow'r.
And then I did not leave its side at all,
Lest some mischance, my flower should befall.
At last, oh joy! the central petals burst apart.
It blossomed--but, alas! a worm was at its heart!