Three Roses.

Together on a slender spray they hung,1
Dowered with equal beauty, passing fair,2
And blent, as though an unseen censer swung,3
Their mingled perfume with the morning air.4
Not theirs the fate to linger till decay5
Strewed their sweet-scented petals on the ground,6
For ere the close of that bright summer day,7
Each sister-rose another fate had found,8
Twined in the meshes of a beauty’s hair9
One blossom faded slowly, hour by hour,10
Until at parting, some one in despair11
As a memento craved the withered flower.12
One went an offering to a vain coquette,13
Who plucked its leaves, and as they fluttering fell,14
Whispered a test that has believers yet,15
He loves me—loves me not—he loves me well.16
A maiden’s form lies in a darkened room,17
In folded hands, upon a pulseless breast,18
One touch of colour in the deepening gloom,19
The last of the three roses is at rest.20


O Love and cruel Death, so far apart.21
Rose-sisters fair, could I but change with thee22
And choose the fate of either of the three,23
O happiest rose of all, my choice would be24
Thy place above the maiden’s pulseless heart.25