The Rose – William Browne

A ROSE, as fair as ever saw the North,
Grew in a little garden all alone;
A sweeter flower did Nature ne’er put forth,
Nor fairer garden yet was never known:
The maidens danced about it morn and noon,
And learned bards of it their ditties made;
The nimble fairies by the pale-faced moon
Water’d the root and kiss’d her pretty shade.
But well-a-day! – the gardener careless grew;
The maids and fairies both were kept away,
And in a drought the caterpillars threw
Themselves upon the bud and every spray.
God shield the stock! If heaven send no supplies,
The fairest blossom of the garden dies.

poem – the rose

The Rose was given to man for this:
He, sudden seeing it in later years,
Should swift remember Love’s first lingering kiss
And Grief’s last lingering tears;
Or, being blind, should feel its yearning soul
Knit all its piercing perfume round his own,
Till he should see on memory’s ample scroll
All roses he had known;

Or, being hard, perchance his finger-tips
Careless might touch the satin of its cup,
And he should feel a dead babe’s budding lips
To his lips lifted up;

Or, being deaf and smitten with its star,
Should, on a sudden, almost hear a lark
Rush singing up­the nightingale afar
Sing through the dew-bright dark;

Or, sorrow-lost in paths that round and round
Circle old graves, its keen and vital breath
Should call to him within the yew’s bleak bound
Of Life, and not of Death.