Rose Daniels

FROM out the door Rose Daniels came:
The grass was crisp beneath her tread,
And, where had glowed the maple’s flame,
A few sere leaves shook overhead;
The naked grape-vines, snake-like, hung
From the low roof to which they clung,
And one tall mallow’s blackened stalk
Lay half across the narrow walk.
Her hand upon the gate she stayed,
Glanced all around, like one afraid,
Then turned her weary eyes and took
Of her old home a long, last look, —
At the low door-way, and the dead,
Vine net-work on the roof above;
“ Here is the end of love,”she said;
“ The end of love! ”
Ten years before (it almost seemed
That rosy time of hope and pride
Was something she had slept and dreamed)
She passed that gate a happy bride!
’T was May time then: the lilac flowers
The south wind shed in purple showers,
And, by the pathway, gemmed with dew,
The border pinks were budding new;
Above, the robin caroled loud;
A flower with honey-burdened breast,
That droops by its own sweetness bowed,
Her heart grew faint with joy opprest;
“ No more,” she cried, “ I ask of bliss,
No more I crave of Heaven above;
All blessedness seems mine in this
Rich gift of love! ”
Ten years! what changes they had brought!
Now, gazing on that cottage door,
Her saddened life’s most cheering thought
Was, “ I need cross it never more!”
For, dark with sorrow, wrong, and sin,
Her memories of the rooms within;
There harsh reproaches, cruel sneers,
Had mocked her unavailing tears;
Low taunts had flushed her cheek with shame,
Or stung her till her wrath grew bold,
Till in her heart love’s flickering flame
At last had died, and left it cold.
“ And whom,” she questioned, “ can I trust?
None seem my haunting doubts above;
I’ve proved Hope false, and found, in dust,
The end of love.”
With trembling hand she shut the gate,
Drew close her faded shawl, and fast,
Like one who is afraid to wait,
Down the long hill-side way she passed;
But when the short turn of the road
The white stones of the graveyard showed,
A sudden light shone o’er her face,
So quiet seemed that resting-place;
For, ’neath its frozen grasses slept,
In dreamless peace, the little child
Above whose cradle she had wept,
And o’er whose coffin she had smiled;
For, “ God be thanked,” she whispered low,
“ My precious one is safe above;
It never will be hers to know
The end of love!”
Marian Douglas.