Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  The Woodruffe

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

Isa Craig Knox b. 1831

The Woodruffe

THOU art the flower of grief to me,

’T is in thy flavor!

Thou keepest the scent of memory,

A sickly savor.

In the moonlight, under the orchard tree,

Thou wert pluck’d and given to me,

For a love favor.

In the moonlight, under the orchard tree,

Ah, cruel flower!

Thou wert pluck’d given to me,

While a fruitless shower

Of blossoms rain’d on the ground where grew

The woodruffe bed all wet with dew,

In the witching hour.

Under the orchard tree that night

Thy scent was sweetness,

And thou, with thy small star clusters bright

Of pure completeness,

Shedding a pearly lustre bright,

Seem’d, as I gaz’d in the meek moonlight,

A gift of meetness.

“It keeps the scent for years,” said he,

(And thou hast kept it);

“And when you scent it, think of me.”

(He could not mean thus bitterly.)

Ah! I had swept it

Into the dust where dead things rot,

Had I then believ’d his love was not

What I have wept it.

Between the leaves of this holy book,

O flower undying!

A worthless and wither’d weed in look,

I keep thee lying.

The bloom of my life with thee was pluck’d,

And a close-press’d grief its sap hath suck’d,

Its strength updrying.

Thy circles of leaves, like pointed spears,

My heart pierce often;

They enter, it inly bleeds, no tears

The hid wounds soften;

Yet one will I ask to bury thee

In the soft white folds of my shroud with me,

Ere they close my coffin.