Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Rosa Rosarum

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

Agnes Mary Frances Darmesteter b. 1857

Rosa Rosarum

GIVE me, O friend, the secret of thy heart

Safe in my breast to hide,

So that the leagues which keep our lives apart

May not our souls divide.

Give me the secret of thy life to lay

Asleep within my own,

Nor dream that it shall mock thee any day

By any sign or tone.

Nay, as in walking through some convent-close,

Passing beside a well,

Oft have we thrown a red and scented rose

To watch it as it fell;

Knowing that never more the rose shall rise

To shame us, being dead;

Watching it spin and dwindle till it lies

At rest, a speck of red—

Thus, I beseech thee, down the silent deep

And darkness of my heart,

Cast thou a rose; give me a rose to keep,

My friend, before we part.

For, as thou passest down thy garden-ways,

Many a blossom there

Groweth for thee: lilies and laden bays,

And rose and lavender.

But down the darkling well one only rose

In all the year is shed;

And o’er that chill and secret wave it throws

A sudden dawn of red.