A rose of perfect red, embossed
With silver sheens of crystal frost,
Yet warm, nor life nor fragrance lost.
High passion throbbing in a sphere
That Art hath wrought of diamond clear,
- A great heart beating in a tear.
The listening soul is full of dreams
That shape the wondrous-varying themes
As cries of men or plash of streams.
Or noise of summer rain-drops round
That patter daintily a-ground
With hints of heaven in the sound.
Or noble wind-tones chanting free
Through morning-skies across the sea
Wild hymns to some strange majesty.
O, if one trope, clear-cut and keen,
May type the art of Song's best queen,
White-hot of soul, white-chaste of mien,
On Music's heart doth Nilsson dwell
As if a Swedish snow-flake fell
Into a glowing flower-bell.
New York, 1871.