O, why do I hold thee, my fair, only rose,
My bright little treasure—so dear;
And love thee a thousand times better than those,
In thousands, that lately were here?
Because, like a friend, when the many depart,
As fortune's cold storms gather round,
Till all from without chills the desolate heart,
My sweet winter-flower, thou art found!
Because that for me thou hast budded and blown,
I look with such fondness on thee;
That, while I've no other, I call thee my own,
And feel thou art living for me.
I know thee. I've studied thy delicate form,
Till reared from the root to the flower,
That opens to-day, in a season of storm!
To brighten so dreary an hour.
How could I so lavishly scatter my sight
On those, that the gay summer-sun
Had nursed with his beams, when I find such delight
In having and loving but one?
And while thou dost modestly blush at the praise,
That thus I in secret bestow,
It heightens thy beauty, and only can raise
The strain, high and higher to flow.
Although thou must droop, as our dearest ones will,
I'll tenderly watch thy decline;
And, in thy sad moments, I'll cherish thee still,
Because thou hast cheered me in mine.
Then, hallowed like dust of a friend in the tomb,
I'll lay thy pale leaves safe away,
Where memory often shall give them the bloom
That brightened my dark winter day.