Last night some yellow letters fell
From out a scrip I found by chance;
Among them was the silent ghost,
The spirit of my first romance:
And in a faint blue envelope
A withered rose long lost to dew
Bore witness to the dashing days
When love was large and wits were few.
Yet standing there all worn and grey
The teardrops quivered in my eyes
To think of Youth's unshaken front,
The forehead lifted to the skies;
How rough a hill my eager feet
Flung backward when upon its crest
I saw the flutter of the lace
The wind awoke on Helen's breast!
How thornless were the roses then
When fresh young eyes and lips were kind
When Cupid in our porches proved
How true the tale that Love is blind!
But Red-and-White and Poverty
Would only mate while shone the May;
Then came a Bag of Golden Crowns
And jingled Red-and-White away.
Grown old and niggard of romance
I wince not much at aught askew,
And often ask my favourite cat
What else had Red-and-White to do?
And here's the bud that rose and sank,
A crimson island on her breast--
Why should I burn it? Once again
Hide, rose, and dream. God send me rest.