Under The Rose

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

He told a story to her,
A story old yet new
And was it of the Faëry Folk
That dance along the dew?

The night was hung with silence
As a room is hung with cloth,
And soundless, through the rose-sweet hush,
Swooned dim the down-white moth.

Along the east a shimmer,
A tenuous breath of flame,
From which, as from a bath of light,
Nymph-like, the girl-moon came.

And pendent in the purple
Of heaven, like fireflies,
Bubbles of gold the great stars blew
From windows of the skies.

He told a story to her,
A story full of dreams
And was it of the Elfin things
That haunt the thin moonbeams?

Upon the hill a thorn-tree,
Crooked and gnarled and gray,
Against the moon seemed some crutch'd hag
Dragging a child away.

And in the vale a runnel,
That dripped from shelf to shelf,
Seemed, in the night, a woodland witch
Who muttered to herself.

Along the land a zephyr,
Whose breath was wild perfume,
That seemed a sorceress who wove
Sweet spells of beam and bloom.

He told a story to her,
A story young yet old
And was it of the mystic things
Men's eyes shall ne'er behold?

They heard the dew drip faintly
From out the green-cupped leaf;
They heard the petals of the rose
Unfolding from their sheaf.

They saw the wind light-footing
The waters into sheen;
They saw the starlight kiss to sleep
The blossoms on the green.

They heard and saw these wonders;
These things they saw and heard;
And other things within the heart
For which there is no word.

He told a story to her,
The story men call Love,
Whose echoes fill the ages past,
And the world ne'er tires of.

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