Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
1677. To a Wild Rose Found in October
 
By Ednah Proctor (Clarke) Hayes
 
 
THOU foolish blossom, all untimely blown!
  Poor jest of summer, come when woods are chill!
Thy sister buds, in June’s warm redness grown,
  That lit with laughter all the upland hill,
 
Have traceless passed; save on each thornëd stem        5
  Red drops tell how their hearts, in dying, bled.
Theirs was the noon’s rich languor, and for them
  The maiden moon her haloed beauty spread;
 
For them the bobolink his music spilled
  In bubbling streams; and well the wild bee knew        10
Their honeyed hearts. Now bird and bee are stilled;
  Now southward swallows hurry down the blue,
 
Fleeing the murderous Frost that even now
  Hath smote the marshes with his bitter breath,
Quenching the flames that danced on vine and bough,—        15
  Think’st thou thy beauty will make truce with Death,
 
Or hold in summer’s leash his loosened wrath?
  See! o’er the shrunk grass trail the blackened vines;
And, hark! the wind, tracking the snow’s fell path,
  Snarls like a fretted hound among the pines.        20
 
The pallid sunshine fails,—a sudden gloom
  Sweeps up the vale, a-thrill with boding fear.
What place for thee? Too late thy pride and bloom!
  Born out of time,—poor fool,—what dost thou here?
 
What do I here when speeds the threatening blight?        25
  June stirred my heart, and so June is for me.
Who feels life’s impulse bourgeon into light
  Recks not of seasons, knows not bird nor bee.
 
I can but bloom,—did the June roses more?
  I can but droop,—did they not also die?        30
The Moment is: the After or Before
  Hides all from sight,—canst thou tell more than I?
 
What matter if to-night come swirling snow
  And Death? The Power that makes, that mars, is One.
I know nor care not: when that Power bids blow,        35
  I ope my curlëd petals to the sun.
 

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