She sat in the cottage door, and the fair June moon looked down
On a face as pure as its own, an innocent face and sweet
As the roses dewy white that grow so thick at her feet,
White royal roses, fit for a monarch's crown.
And one is clasped in her slender hand, and one on her bosom lies,
And two rare blushing buds loop up her light brown hair,
Ah, roses of June, you never looked on a face so white and fair,
Such perfectly moulded lips, such sweet and heavenly eyes.
This low-walled home is dear to her, she has come to it to-day
From the lordly groves of her palace home afar,
But not to stay; there's a light on her brow like the light of a star,
And her eyes are looking beyond the earth, far, far away.
She was born in this cottage home, the sweetest rosebud of spring,
And grew with its flowers, the fairest blossom of all,
Till her friends ambitiously said she would grace the kingliest hall,
And flattery breathed on her ear its passionate whispering.
A man of riches and taste saw the maiden's face,
And thought her beauty would grace his stately southern home,
So he took her there, with pictures from France, and statues from Rome,
And marvellous works of art from many an ancient place.
He decked her in costly attire, and showed her beauty with pride
As for sympathy and love, what need of these had she?
He had placed her amidst the choicest treasures of land and sea,
His marble Hebe never complained, and why should his bride?
He had polished the beautiful unknown gem and set it in gold,
He had given her his name and his wealth, what more could she ask?
When all other gifts were hers, it were surely an easy task
Her pleading spirit's restless wings to fold.
The wise world called her blest, so heart be still,
She had beauty, and splendor, and youth, and a husband calmly kind,
And crowds of flattering friends her lofty mansion lined,
And dark-browed slaves awaited her queenly will.
Why should she dream of the past, of the days of old,
Of her childhood home, and more oft of the home of the dead,
Of the grave where she went alone the night before she was wed,
And knelt, with her pure cheek pressed to the marble cold?
It was not sin, she said, that those eyes of darkest blue
Haunted her dreams more wildly from day to day,
Since they looked on Heaven now, and she was so far away,
She could love the dead and still be to the living true.
She could think of him, the one who loved her best,
Of him who true had been if all the world deceived,
Who felt all grief with her when she was grieved,
And shared each joy that thrilled her girlish breast.
It was not sin that she heard that voice, gentle and deep,
And the echo of a name - it was cut in marble now -
So it was not sin, she said, as she breathed it low
In the midnight hour when all but she were asleep.
But she wearier grew of pride and pomp, like a home sick child she pined,
And paler grew her cheek, as worn with a wearing pain,
She said the fresh free country air would seem so sweet again,
So she went to her childhood home, as a pilgrim goes to a shrine,
And she looked down the orchard path and the meadow's clover bloom;
She stood by the stone-walled well that had mirrored her face when a child,
She saw where the robins built, and her roses clambered wild,
And lingered lost in thought in each low and rustic room.
And she sat in the cottage door while the fair June moon looked down
On a face as pure as its own, an innocent face, and sweet
As the roses wet with dew that grew so thick at her feet,
White, royal roses, fit for a monarch's crown.
But at night, when silence and sleep on the lonely hamlet fell
Like a spirit clad in white through the graveyard gate she passed,
And the stars bent down to hear, "I have come to you, love, at last,"
While through the valley solemnly sounded the midnight bell.
And her southern birds will wait her coming in vain,
Their starry eyes impatiently pierce the palm-trees' shade,
And her roses droop in their bowers, alone they'll wither and fade.
Roses of June you are gone, but we know you will blossom again.