To a Tea Rose

DEEP-FOLDED flower, for me your race
Bears what no kindred blooms have borne,
That gleam in memory’s vistas —
A charm, a chastity, a grace
The loveliest roses have not worn,
Of all your lovely sisters!
Half-tinged like some dim-yellow peach,
Half like a shell’s pink inward whorl
That sighs its sea-home after,
Your creamy oval bud lets each
Pale outer petal backward curl,
Like a young child’s lip in laughter!
And yet no mirthful trace we see;
Rather the grave, serene repose
Of gentlest resignation;
So that you sometimes seem to be
(If one might say it of a rose)
In pensive meditation!
Ah! how may earthly words express
This placid sadness round you cast,
Delicate, vague, unspoken?
As though some red progenitress,
In some old garden of the past,
Had had her young heart broken!
Edgar Fawcett.