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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

My Neighbor Rose

By Frederick Locker-Lampson (1821–1895)

THOUGH slender walls our hearths divide,

No word has passed from either side.

Your days, red-lettered all, must glide

Unvexed by labor:

I’ve seen you weep, and could have wept;

I’ve heard you sing, and may have slept;

Sometimes I hear your chimneys swept,

My charming neighbor!

Your pets are mine. Pray what may ail

The pup, once eloquent of tail?

I wonder why your nightingale

Is mute at sunset!

Your puss, demure and pensive, seems

Too fat to mouse. She much esteems

Yon sunny wall—and sleeps and dreams

Of mice she once ate.

Our tastes agree. I doat upon

Frail jars, turquoise and celadon,

The ‘Wedding March’ of Mendelssohn,

And ‘Penseroso.’

When sorely tempted to purloin

Your pietà of Marc Antoine,

Fair Virtue doth fair play enjoin,

Fair Virtuoso!

At times an Ariel, cruel-kind,

Will kiss my lips, and stir your blind,

And whisper low, “She hides behind:

Thou art not lonely.”

The tricksy sprite did erst assist

At hushed Verona’s moonlight tryst;

Sweet Capulet! thou wert not kissed

By light winds only.

I miss the simple days of yore,

When two long braids of hair you wore

And chat botté was wondered o’er

In corner cosy.

But gaze not back for tales like those:

’Tis all in order, I suppose;

The Bud is now a blooming Rose,—

A rosy posy!

Indeed, farewell to bygone years:

How wonderful the change appears,—

For curates now and cavaliers

In turn perplex you;

The last are birds of feather gay,

Who swear the first are birds of prey:

I’d scare them all, had I my way,

But that might vex you.

At times I’ve envied, it is true,

That joyous hero, twenty-two,

Who sent bouquets and billets-doux,

And wore a sabre.

The rogue! how tenderly he wound

His arm round one who never frowned:

He loves you well. Now, is he bound

To love my neighbor?

The bells are ringing. As is meet,

White favors fascinate the street;

Sweet faces greet me, rueful-sweet,

’Twixt tears and laughter;

They crowd the door to see her go:

The bliss of one brings many woe,—

Oh! kiss the bride, and I will throw

The old shoe after.

What change in one short afternoon,—

My charming neighbor gone,—so soon!

Is yon pale orb her honey-moon

Slow rising hither?

O lady, wan and marvelous,

How often have we communed thus:

Sweet memories shall dwell with us,

And joy go with her!