TWO ROSES

A humble wild rose, pink and slender,
    Was plucked and placed in a bright bouquet,
Beside a Jacqueminot's royal splendor,
    And both in my lady's boudoir lay.

Said the haughty bud, in a tone of scorning,
    "I wonder why you are called a rose?
Your leaves will fade in a single morning,
    No blood of mine in your pale cheek glows.

"Your coarse green stalk shows dust of the highway,
    You have no depths of fragrant bloom;
And what could you learn in a rustic byway
    To fit you to lie in my lady's room?

"If called to adorn her warm white bosom,
    What have you to offer for such a place
Beside my fragrant and splendid blossom,
    Ripe with color and rich with grace ?"

Said the sweet wild rose : "Despite your dower
    Of finer breeding and deeper hue,
Despite your beauty, fair, high-bred flower,
    It is I who should lie on her breast, not you.

"For small account is your hot-house glory
    Beside the knowledge that came to me
When I heard by the wayside love's old story,
    And felt the kiss of the burrowing bee."                            --Ella Wheeler Wilcox .

The Evening Bulletin [Philadelphia] 25 Aug. 1905: 7.

Courtesy of John M. Freiermuth.


Back to Poem Index