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THE LAST LEAF.
Lone trembling one! Last of a summer race, withered and sear, And shivering — wherefore art thou lingering here?
Thy work is done.
Thou hast seen all The summer flowers reposing in their tomb, And the green leaves, that knew thee in their bloom,
Wither and fall!
The voice of Spring,
New verdure bring.
The Zephyr's breath
Thy hymn of death.
Yet a few days, A few faint struggles with the Autumn storm, And the strained eye, to catch thy quivering form,
In vain may gaze.
Pale Autumn leaf! Thou art an emblem of mortality. The broken heart, once young and fresh like thee,
Withered by grief,
Whose leaves are fled, Whose loved ones all have drooped and died away, Still clings to life — and lingering, loves to stay
Above the dead !
But list — even now I hear the gathering of the wintry blast; It comes — thy frail form trembles — it is past !
And so art thou.
TO A LADY,
WITH A WITHERED LEAF.
What offering can the minstrel bring,
To cast upon affection's shrine ? 'Twas hard thy magic spells to fling
O'er the fond heart already thine !
Thou wouldst not prize the glittering gem,
Thou wouldst but cast the pearl away; For thine is now a diadem,
Of lustre brighter far than they.
I will not bring the spring-tide flower,
Reposing on its gentle leaf;
I would not thine should be as brief.
My heart ! — but that has long been thine —
'Twere but a worthless offering ; The ruin of a rifled shrine,
A flower that fast is withering.
My song ! — 'tis but a mournful strain,
So deep in sorrow's mantle clad, E’en echo will not wake again
The music of a strain so sad.
A wilher'd leaf! — nay, scorn it not,
Nor deem it all unworthy thee; It grew upon a hallow'd spot,
And sacred is its memory.
I pluck'd it from a lonely bough,
That hung above my mother's grave, And felt, e'en then, that none but thou
Could'st prize the gift affection gave.
She faded with the flowers of spring,
That o'er her lifeless form was cast, — And when I pluck'd this faded thing,
'Twas shivering in the autumn blast.
'Twas the last one! -- all — all were gone,
They bloom'd not where the yew trees wave; This leaf and I were left alone,
Pale watchers o'er my mother's grave.
I mark’d it, when full oft I sought
That spot so dear to memory; I loved it -- for I fondly thought,
It linger'd there to mourn with me!
I've moisten’d it with many a tear,
I've hallow'd it with many a prayer: And while this bursting heart was clear
From guilt's dark stain, I shrined it there.
Now, lady, now the gift is thine !
Oh, guard it with a vestal's care; Make but thine angel heart its shrine,
And I will kneel and worship there !