The White Flower’s Story.

A sweet pure flower, white as the snow without,1
I grew and blossomed in the scented air,2
And dreamed full many a dream of life and love.3
I heard young lovers whispering all about,4
And thought that soon I too should have my share.5
The sunshine wooed me gazing from above,6
’Twas then I opened out my perfect flower,7
Until the whole place owned its wondrous power.8
With soft sad eyes, I watched my lady come,9
And as she drew me towards her heaving breast10
I deemed my time drew nigh to see the world,11
That world, of which I heard the voiceless hum12
Go on for e’er, with curious vague unrest ;13
And wider yet my pure white leaves unfurled.14
My lady wears me at the ball to-night15
I once shall see a scene of rare delight ! ”16
With shaking hand, my lady cut the stem,17
And pressed me to her lips, and in her eyes18
I saw the large tears slowly gathering there ;19
Yet did not fall. She did not notice them,20
And looked through mist beyond the pale blue skies21
As if she saw a mystic vision fair.22
My lady gives me," said I, whispering low,23
To him to whom her sweet heart longs to go.”24
Slowly she carried me with flagging feet25
Into another room. There, on the bed,26
Lay something white and wonderful and grand,27
Upon the lips a lingering smile, so sweet28
I knew that I was with the blessed dead,29
Whose work was done, who could no longer stand30
With weary eyes, watching the daylight die31
Too swift away across the winter sky.32
My lady placed me on th’unbeating heart,33
By the crossed hands, and sighed with bitter pain,34
And yet methought she envied me my place.35
She turned away, then, as if forced apart,36
Her lips just breathed her lover’s name again ;37
Yet came no sign upon that silent face.38
’Twas then I knew it all—death is life’s best,39
And he wins most, who earliest goes to rest.40