Life is Like the Summer Rose
My life is like the summer rose
That opens to the morning sky,
But, ere the shades of evening close,
Is scattered on the ground to die.
But on that rose's humble bed
The sweetest dews of night are shed,
As if Heaven wept such waste to see
But none shall weep a tear for me.
My life is like the autumn leaf
That trembles in the moon's pale ray;
Its hold is frailits state is brief
Restless and soon to pass away.
Yet ere that leaf shall fall and fade,
The parent tree shall mourn its shade,
The winds bewail the leafless tree
But none shall breathe a sigh for me.
My life is like the print of feet
Left upon Tampa's desert strand;
Soon as the rising tide shall beat,
The tracks will vanish from the sand.
Yet, as if grieving to efface
All vestige of the human race,
On that lone shore loud moans the sea
But none shall e'er lament for me.
The Poet's Lament
As evening's dews to sun-parched summer flowers,
So to young burning breasts has verse been
To soothe and cool the flush of feverish hours,
Even with the tears exhaled from earth to
But when life's ebbing pulse wanes faint and slow,
And coming winter clouds the short'ning
No dews the night, no tears the eyes bestow,
No words the soul to mourn its own decay.
But frosts instead, the waste of years deform,
And on our head falls fast untimely snow,
Or worsewe prove volcanic passions' storm,
Whose earthquake calmness mocks the fires
These have no voiceyet might their ruins speak
The past and present eloquently well
But, fiendlike, on themselves their rage they wreak,
Although they dare not wake the silent spell.
For such, alas! all Poetry is past,
Not even in History their thoughts survive,
Like crowded cities into lava cast
Oblivion-doomed, embalmed, while still alive.
Above the stifled heart a nation's grave,
Years, centuries, millenniums even might
And o'er their barren dust no laurels wave
Forth from their ashes springs no blade
Ores in the darkest caverns of the earth,
Pearls in the sea's unfathomed depths may
Gems in the mountain's living rock have birth
But never Poetry in souls like mine.
To the Mocking-Bird
Winged mimic of the woods! thou motley fool!
Who shall they gay buffoonery describe?
Thine ever-ready notes of ridicule
Pursue they fellows still with jest and
Wit, sophist, songster, Yorick of they tribe,
Thou sportive satirist of Nature's school;
To thee the palm of scoffing we ascribe,
Arch-mocker and mad Abbot of Misrule!
For such thou art by daybut all night long
Thou pour'st a soft, sweet, pensive, solemn
As if thou didst in this they moonlight song
Like to the melancholy Jacques complain,
Musing on falsehood, folly, vice, and wrong,
And sighing for thy motley coat again.
[Thomas M'Caleb (ed.), The Louisiana Book: Selections
from the Literature of the State 491-93 (New Orleans: R.F. Straughan,