Mary Newmarch Prescott
Oh, sweet Romance, let me know
If by any rhyme or reason
I can woo you, that you blow
In my garden every season!
Tell me what the soil you need.
What cool showers, what April weather;
If like any common seed
You put up a pale green feather?
Though a hundred years are vaunted
To perfect the aloe flower.
You, dear Romance, most undaunted.
Bloom a hundred times an hour.
And though bay-leaves crown the brave
While the myrtle's for the poet.
Plant immortal, I would crave
Seed of thee that I might sow it
Broadcast, round my wicket-gate,
Ingress to dull care denying
I might sit the world defying.
Through my mood, my state belying,
Learning gayly how to wait.
Hark! through all the crystal pauses
Breaks the treble of thy leaves;
Silverest of silvery noises,
Tapping at my cottage eaves.
When the wandering winds are tired
Till one more than half believes.
Sighs some weary-hearted Dryad
Whom the daily sun deceives.
Yet when morn is just beginning
To foretell its grand surprise.
Through thy boughs what chorus ringing,
What chatoyant splendors winging
Splendors caught from sunrise skies
Wedded with celestial singing—
Singing birds of Paradise.
For me, never, never lonely
Days nor nights, if thou wilt only
Not delay thy spring-tide budding.
Nor forget the June-day flooding
Of my ways with subtlest fragrance.
Calling home the winged vagrants
That from memory vanished quite
Out of hearing, out of sight.
Lose in the- uncertain distance
Claim to true shape or existence.
Through thy tendrils, sky-aspiring.
Leaving little for desiring.
Let me hear the tempest's choiring.
Mellowed to the flute's respiring:
Let the sunbeam's warm embrace
With thy being interlace.
Leading by a shining clew
Heavenward to the quiet blue
Which the earth to heaven allies.
Touch thee into a disguise
Radiant as the dragon-fly's.
Can it be that storms may splinter
All thy strength some cruel winter?
That some wild and bleak New Year
Bring thee but a frozen tear;
So when little May winds shiver
Thou wilt make no answering quiver
Oh, be ever green and growing,
No repulse thy spirit knowing!
Like the noble Banyan tree
Tenant of the soil, but free!
With thy magic seed shed wide
On laden west-wind, laden tide,
Each ripe harvest loosely cast
And borne upon each flying blast.
Daily journey everywhere
That the great heroic dare.
Wandering now to farther Greenland
And the coasts of the Unseen land;
Into chilliest regions going
Regions of perpetual snowing;
Striking latitudes that smile
Into summer all the while.
Blown across the open sea
Of a vast humanity.
Where no other plant will flourish
Thou thy rarest blossoms nourish!
By the merest thread of bliss.
By a whisper, by a kiss.
Bid thy folded leaves expand,
Beautifying all the land.
In thy shade, that sunshine is.
Let me taste of happiness;
Oh, dear Romance, let me be
Evermore at home with thee!