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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Emily Pfeiffer 1841–90

A Song of Winter

BARB’D blossom of the guarded gorse,

I love thee where I see thee shine:

Thou sweetener of our common-ways,

And brightener of our wintry days.

Flower of the gorse, the rose is dead,

Thou art undying, O be mine!

Be mine with all thy thorns, and prest

Close on a heart that asks not rest.

I pluck thee and thy stigma set

Upon my breast and on my brow;

Blow, buds, and plenish so my wreath

That none may know the wounds beneath.

O crown of thorn that seem’st of gold,

No festal coronal art thou;

Thy honey’d blossoms are but hives

That guard the growth of winged lives.

I saw thee in the time of flowers

As sunshine spill’d upon the land,

Or burning bushes all ablaze

With sacred fire; but went my ways;

I went my ways, and as I went

Pluck’d kindler blooms on either hand;

Now of those blooms so passing sweet

None lives to stay my passing feet.

And still thy lamp upon the hill

Feeds on the autumn’s dying sigh,

And from thy midst comes murmuring

A music sweeter than in spring.

Barb’d blossoms of the guarded gorse,

Be mine to wear until I die,

And mine the wounds of love which still

Bear witness to his human will.