Just as the sun went bathing in a sea
Of liquid amber, flecked with caps of gold, I told
The sweet old story unto Geraldine, my Queen,
Who long hath made the whole of life for me.
But though she smiled upon me yesterday,
And heaven seemed near because she was so kind, I find
She held me but as one of many men; and then
Dismissed me in her proud, yet gracious way.
Ah, Geraldine! my lady of sweet arts,
There waits for thee not very far away, a day
When thou shalt waken out of tranquil sleep, and weep
Such bitter tears as spring from anguished hearts.
Thou shalt look in thy mirror with dismay
To find upon each feature of thy face, the trace
Of time, the lover who shall follow thee, and see
Thy rare youth slipping suddenly away.
So self-assured, so certain of thy power,
It shall come on thee with a swift surprise. Thine eyes
Appalled, shall fall upon each certain, strange, sad change,
And rob thee of thy triumph in an hour.
And when that day shall come, as come it must,
You then will think of me, sweet Geraldine, my Queen,
And of the faithful heart there tossed away one day,
Before thy dead sea apples turned to dust.
To dust and ashes, leaving nothing more,
That day will come, my lady, I can wait; and Fate
Shall right my wrongs. Thou smilest, Geraldine, my Queen!
Ah well, so have fair women smiled before.
Yesterdays. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
London: Gay & Hancock, 1916.
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