The Rose.

A poem by James Whitcomb Riley

It tossed its head at the wooing breeze;
And the sun, like a bashful swain,
Beamed on it through the waving frees
With a passion all in vain, -
For my rose laughed in a crimson glee,
And hid in the leaves in wait for me.

The honey-bee came there to sing
His love through the languid hours,
And vaunt of his hives, as a proud old king
Might boast of his palace-towers:
But my rose bowed in a mockery,
And hid in the leaves in wait for me.

The humming-bird, like a courtier gay,
Dipped down with a dalliant song,
And twanged his wings through the roundelay
Of love the whole day long:
Yet my rose turned from his minstrelsy
And hid in the leaves in wait for me.

The firefly came in the twilight dim
My red, red rose to woo -
Till quenched was the flame of love in him,
And the light of his lantern too,
As my rose wept with dew-drops three
And hid in the leaves in wait for me.

And I said: I will cult my own sweet rose -
Some day I will claim as mine
The priceless worth of the flower that knows
No change, but a bloom divine -
The bloom of a fadeless constancy
That hides in the leaves in wait for me!

But time passed by in a strange disguise,
And I marked it not, but lay
In a lazy dream, with drowsy eyes,
Till the summer slipped away,
And a chill wind sang in a minor key:
"Where is the rose that waits for thee?"

* * * * *

I dream to-day, o'er a purple stain
Of bloom on a withered stalk,
Pelted down by the autumn rain
In the dust of the garden-walk,
That an Angel-rose in the world to be
Will hide in the leaves in wait for me.

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