Relics

The violets that you gave are dead—
They could not bear the loss of you;
The spirit of the rose has fled—
It loved you, and its love was true:
Back to your lips that spirit flies,
To bask beneath your radiant eyes.

Only the ashes bide with me,
The ashes of the ruined flowers—
Types of a rapture not to be;
Sad relics of bewildering hours;
Poor, frail, forlorn, and piteous shows
Of errant passion's wasted woes.

He grandly loves who loves in vain:
These withered flowers that lesson teach.
They suffered, they did not complain,
Their life was love too great for speech:
In silent pride their fate they bore;
They loved, they grieved, they died—no more!

Far off the purple banners flare,
Beneath the golden morning spread:
I know what queen is worshipped there,
What laurels wreathe her lovely head:
Her name be sacred, in my thought,
And sacred be the grief she brought!

For, since I saw that glorious face,
And heard the music of that voice,
Much beauty darkens in disgrace
That used to make my heart rejoice;
And rose and violet ne'er can be
The same that once they were to me.
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