A Lingering Leaf.

Thou leaflet ! fluttering all forlorn1
On bough so bleak and bare,2
In what sweet sunlight wast thou born ?3
Amid what charmèd air ?4
Ah ! thou hast nought of beauty now !5
No remnant of thy grace ;6
A solitary thing art thou7
In this lone woodland place.8
When all thy sister leaves rejoiced,9
Thou wert as green, as gay ;10
And on this bough, all silver-voiced,11
The linnet sang his lay :12
Ah ! who so light and fair as thou,13
A graceful Summer gem !14
And who so brown and withered now,15
Alone upon thy stem !16
Thou waitest but the icy breath17
Of Winter keen and chill,18
And thou shalt fall to deeper death,19
Tossed at the cold winds’ will ;20
Perchance to wander like a ghost,21
A waif, through sky and earth,22
Spurned by every breeze, and tossed23
As if in mimic mirth !24
And many a year the Spring shall wake25
The earth with leaves and flowers,26
And this bleak bough in bloom shall break27
’Neath vernal suns and showers ;28
And leaves as gay and light as thou29
Shall flutter in the sun,30
And cluster on this hawthorn bough31
So perish, lonely one !32