O roses, June roses! From yonder beds of bloom
Is wafted toward me your subtle faint perfume,
Which draws me, half-willing, as 'twere a greeting sweet,
To stay in your presence the going of my feet.
O red rose, deep red rose! the emblem of a heart
Encrimsoned with passion and youthful love thou art;
But white rose, the right rose art thou, belovéd, sure,
To symbol that heart made by pain and sorrow pure.
O roses, fair roses, you bring me bitter ruth,
You mind me of yonder fair summer time in youth--
Two stood by a window where clung the wild sweetbriar,
And roses whose hearts glowed with strange and subtle fire.
O roses, list, roses: he murmured, "Take this rose
Which symbols the passion that in my bosom glows;
O take it and keep it and keep the love as well!"
The love I had no word for the blushes rose to tell.
And roses, O roses!--that rose, I have it yet,
No longer its petals with morning dew are wet,
Its hot crimson blushes are faded now and gone,
It lies in my casket all scentless, white and wan.
O roses, O roses! that love died long ago.
I wept not its going: I knew 'twas better so.
And I put by a ring and a broken troth-plight
When I put by my red rose, had faded into white.
O roses, June roses, my life is fair and bright,
I've passed from the night-gloom of sorrow into light;
But in the June weather when purple roses blow,
I sigh, through all my smiling, at thought of long ago.