The Song Of A Summer

I PLUCKED an apple from off a tree,
Golden and rosy and fair to see, —
The sunshine had fed it with warmth and light,
The dews had freshened it night by night,
And high on the topmost bough it grew,
Where the winds of Heaven about it blew;
And while the mornings were soft and young
The wild birds circled, and soared, and sung, —
There, in the storm and calm and shine,
It ripened and brightened, this apple of mine,
Till the day I plucked it from off the tree,
Golden and rosy and fair to see.

How could I guess 'neath that daintiest rind
That the core of sweetness I hoped to find —
The innermost, hidden heart of the bliss,
Which dews and winds and the sunshine's kiss
Had tended and fostered by day and night —
Was black with mildew, and bitter with blight;
Golden and rosy and fair of skin,
Nothing but ashes and ruin within?
Ah, never again, with toil and pain,
Will I strive the topmost bough to gain, —
Though its wind-swung apples are fair to see,
On a lower branch is the fruit for me.
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