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

Alice Brown (1857–1948)

A Benedictine Garden

THROUGH all the wind-blown aisles of May

Faint bells of perfume swing and fall.

Within this apple-petaled wall

(A gray east flecked with rosy day)

The pink Laburnum lays her cheek

In married, matchless, lovely bliss,

Against her golden mate, to seek

His airy kiss.

Tulips, in faded splendor drest,

Brood o’er their beds, a slumbrous gloom;

Dame Peony, red and ripe with bloom,

Swells the silk housing of her breast;

The Lilac, drunk to ecstasy,

Breaks her full flagons on the air,

And drenches home the reeling bee

Who found her fair.

O cowlèd legion of the Cross,

What solemn pleasantry is thine,

Vowing to seek the life divine

Through abnegation and through loss!

Men but make monuments of sin

Who walk the earth’s ambitious round;

Thou hast the richer realm within

This garden ground.

No woman’s voice hath sweeter note

Than chanting of this plumèd choir;

No jewel ever wore the fire

Hung on the dewdrop’s quivering throat.

A ruddier pomp and pageantry

Than world’s delight o’erfleets thy sod;

And choosing this, thou hast in fee

The peace of God.