Our Wellesley knew thee but a few swift years,
A maiden spirit, fresh as morning skies,
Pale beauty of the face and frank young eyes
With privacies of tenderness and tears.
Half shy, half proud amid thy clustering peers
Thou borest thee in queenly lily wise,
Yet swaying toward them in a sweet surprise
Of love and faith--prophetic atmospheres.
For summer shone, and goldenly thine heart
Bloomed into bliss, but now--oh, strange, new ache
That makes itself familiar--now thou art
A broken lily, all untimely dimmed,
A broken lily, for whose vanished sake
Our speech is faint, our eyes are overbrimmed.
There is a life outwearing even grief.
Our shining lily, of the sunbeams fain,
Smit by a sudden vehemence of rain
Is dashed to earth with ruined cup and leaf;
But Death, her troubler, holds his mortal fief
Of Love the overlord, whose meads retain
A perfume sweeter for the bruise and stain,
Abiding fragrance of a blossom brief.
Transplanted, be it so, to gardens bright,
Where drooping lilies, sprent with honey-dew,
By angel touches wax more dazzling white
Than eye conceives beneath this baffling blue,
At least remains to us of shadowed sight
Thy folding effluence of fair and true.
God pity all whose hearts are anguish-torn
For loss of her, but softest mercies flow
On these, her little ones, who cannot know
What cause their baby voices have to mourn.
In vain their fitful cries pursue her borne
From rooms belovéd, yet content to go,
Sealed in that ivory trance from joy and woe,
Her bridal raiment now serenely worn.
Too young for memory, too young to miss
Her cherishments, and yet it may not be
As they had never felt the mother-kiss,
Nor reached their wandering hands to catch her smile;
But, haply, dreamland keeps some charméd isle
Where love shall brood them safe from storm and sea.