"Cinnamon Roses!" she said, "how fair,"
Holding them out in her finger-tips.
"Yes," I whispered, "the hue they wear
Was borrowed out of thy cheeks, and lips.
Beautiful roses! and each supposes
Itself replete, with thy graces, Sweet.
Fair they may be, yet not like thee--
See! they fade at thy smile, dear maid!"
"Give me a Rose!" and nothing loth,
She tossed a beautiful bud to me.
But I gathered the maid and the flowers both--
Close to my breast. "Not that, but thee!
I most am wanting. The dear face haunting
My heart each hour, is the sweetest flower."
And I gathered close the face like a rose,
And kissed her lips and her finger-tips.
The leaves, from the roses in her hand,
Dropped one by one: but the thorn was left.
(Fool, that I did not understand.)
Cheated, and jilted, and all bereft,
Of the fair, false blossom I held on my bosom
I stand to-day. But the thorn alway
Pierces my heart like a cruel dart.
The rose is dead: and her love--has fled.
Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.
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