Oh, do you remember that night, long ago,
When I gave you the rose from my hair?
And you whispered, "I'll wear it close over my heart,
As I cherish the sweet giver there?"
'Twas a long time ago? you've forgotten, perhaps,
That such a thing ever occurred.
But to-night, as I sit in the firelight's glow,
My heart's with the memory stirred,
And I seem to live over my girlhood again,
When my life was as warm as the spring:
Before it had read the sharp lesson of pain,
And when you were my hero, and king.
Oh! you were not worthy the love that I gave,
Like the the sun in midsummer, it burned;
While a passionless fancy, an idle day-dream,
Was the poor, shallow thing you returned.
Long ago---long ago! time has softened the pain,
That threataned to shadow my life.
I am older, and wiser I think, now, than then,
And you have a beautiful wife---
As pure as the angels, as fair, too, they say,
With her blue eyes and snowy-white lid.
But I cannot help wondering, here to myself,
If she loves you as well as I did.
Ah me! it can never harm you, or your bride,
For me to dream over that night,
When you whispered sweet words o'er the rose from my hair,
And my foolish heart throbbed in delight.
Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.
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