O pensive Sister! thy tear--darkened gaze
I understand, whene'er thou look'st upon
The Garden's gilded green and colour'd blaze,
The gay society of flowers and sun.
Thou thinkest of the withering that must come,
The quenching of this radiance all around,
The hastening change in Nature's merriest home,
The future blackness of the orphaned ground.
Thou thinkest too of those more precious blooms,
The firstling honours of thy Life's fresh field,
The childly feelings that have all their tombs,
The hopes of youth that now no odours yield:
Still many a blessèd sense in living glee,
Waves its bright form to glorify thy breast,
But this fair scene's perverse morality
Tells thee, they all will perish like the rest:
Yet pluck them, hurt them not; whate'er betides,
Touch not with wilful force those flowers or thine,--
Let Death receive them his inviolate brides,
They are the destined vestals of his shrine.
And if those children of the insensate earth
Go down in peace to a prolific grave,--
If Nature raises in continuous birth
The plant whose present grace she will not save,--
So some deep--grounded root or visible seed,
When these Heart--blossoms fade, may still remain,
In a new season of thy Being, decreed
To rise to light and loveliness again.
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