THE path, from porch to gate, I rim,
In rounded clusters rising trim;
With changeless mien I lift serene
My small bright leaves of dusky green.
I droop not under blinding heat,
Nor shrink from savage cold and sleet;
When o’er me flow pale shrouds of snow,
My patient verdure thrives below.
I cannot lure the dainty bee;
No breeze of summer sighs for me;
In sombre mood I drowse and brood
With memory-haunted quietude.
For though I guard a sturdy strength,
My life has known unwonted length;
Bright days or dark I mutely mark,
The garden’s tranquil patriarch.
That white-haired lady, frail of form,
Who seeks the porch when suns are warm,
Has near me smiled, a blithesome child,
With tangled ringlets tossing wild!
As years went on, with air sedate
She met her love at yonder gate.
I saw him bring, one night in spring,
The precious gold betrothal-ring!
To church along this path she went,
A twelvemonth later, well content;
With peerless charm, in sweet alarm,
She leaned upon her father’s arm!
Again to church, when years had fled,
In widow’s dress, with bended head,
I saw her guide, at either side,
Her black-robed children, pensive-eyed.
These children now are dames and men,
But I to-day am young as then;
And yet each rose that near me blows
Laughs lightly at my prim repose.
Ah, giddy flowers, that briefly live,
Your thoughtless whispers I forgive,
Since calmly I, as years go by,
In damask thousands watch you die!
Edgar Fawcett.