The Dittany

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

The scent of dittany was hot.
Its smell intensified the heat:
Into his brain it seemed to beat
With memories of a day forgot,
When she walked with him through the wheat,
And noon was heavy with the heat.

Again her eyes gazed into his
With all their maiden tenderness;
Again the fragrance of her dress
Swooned on his senses; and, with bliss,
Again he felt her heart's caress
Full of a timid tenderness.

What of that spray she plucked and gave?
The spray of this wild dittany,
Whose scent brought back to memory
A something lost, beyond the grave.
He knew now what it meant, ah me!
That spray of withered dittany.

How many things he had forgot!
Far, lovely things Life flings away!
And where was she now? Who could say?
The dittany, whose scent was hot,
Spoke to his heart; and, old and gray,
Through the lone land he went his way.

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