Oft when pacing thro' the long and dim
Dark gallery of the Past, I pause before
A picture of which this is a copy -
Wretched at best.
How fair she look'd, standing a-tiptoe there,
Pois'd daintily upon her little feet!
The slanting sunset falling thro' the leaves
In golden glory on her smiling face,
Upturn'd towards the blushing roses; while
The breeze that came up from the river's brink,
Shook all their clusters over her fair face;
And sported with her robe, until methought,
That she stood there clad wondrously indeed!
In perfume and in music: for her dress
Made a low, rippling sound, like little waves
That break at midnight on the tawny sands -
While all the evening air of roses whisper'd.
Over her face a rich, warm blush spread slowly,
And she laughed, a low, sweet, mellow laugh
To see the branches still evade her hands -
Her small white hands which seem'd indeed as if
Made only thus to gather roses.
Then with face
All flushed and smiling she did nod to me
Asking my help to gather them for her:
And so, I bent the heavy clusters down,
Show'ring the rose-leaves o'er her neck and face;
Then carefully she plucked the very fairest one,
And court'seying playfully gave it to me -
Show'd me her finger-tip, pricked by a thorn,
And when I would have kiss'd it, shook her head,
Kiss'd it herself, and mock'd me with a smile!
The rose she gave me sleeps between the leaves
Of an old poet where its sight oft brings
That summer evening back again to me.