A Ballad Of Sweethearts

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

Summer may come, in sun-blonde splendor,
To reap the harvest that Springtime sows;
And Fall lead in her old defender,
Winter, all huddled up in snows:
Ever a-south the love-wind blows
Into my heart, like a vane asway
From face to face of the girls it knows--
But who is the fairest it's hard to say.

If Carrie smile or Maud look tender,
Straight in my bosom the gladness glows;
But scarce at their side am I all surrender
When Gertrude sings where the garden grows:
And my heart is a bloom, like the red rose shows
For her hand to gather and toss away,
Or wear on her breast, as her fancy goes--
But who is the fairest it's hard to say.

Let Laura pass, as a sapling slender,
Her cheek a berry, her mouth a rose,--
Or Blanche or Helen,--to each I render
The worship due to the charms she shows:
But Mary's a poem when these are prose;
Here at her feet my life I lay;
All of devotion to her it owes--
But who is the fairest it's hard to say.

How can my heart of my hand dispose?
When Ruth and Clara, and Kate and May,
In form and feature no flaw disclose--
But who is the fairest it's hard to say.

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