WHY did you smile when the summer was dying

If it were not that the hours

Might bring in winter, while sad winds are sighing,

Some of Love’s flowers?

Now is beginning of spring, and I ask not

Roses to flame o’er the lawn—

Who should know better that peonies bask not

In the sun’s dawn?

Still, through the snow, it may be there is peeping

Veiled from the kiss of the sun

One lone white violet, daintily sleeping,

Hard to be won.

So with my fairy white maiden (you hear me?)

Winter may yet pass away;

Spring my arrive, (will it find your heart near me?)

Summer may stay.


Passionate roses I seek not, whose glories

Now are too fierce for the spring,

While the white flames of the frost flake that hoar is

Flicker, on wing.

Only a primrose, a violet laden

With the pale perfume of dawn;

Only a snowdrop, my delicate maiden;

These have no thorn.

Old-fashioned love, yet you feel it a fountain

Springing for ever, most pure;

Old-fashioned love, yet as adamant mountain

Solid and sure.

Yes, tender thoughts on your lips will be breaking

By-and-by into a smile;

Love, ere he springs up divine at his waking,

Slumbers awhile.

So, my kissed snowdrop, you took its white blossom

Tenderly into your hand,

Kissed it three times, wear it yet in your bosom—

I understand.

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