Alice Cary

April 26, 1820 - 1871



by Alice Cary

An old man sits beside a wall,
Where grow two hollyhocks -- one tall
And flowerless, one bright and small.

His hair is full of silver streaks,
The tears are running down his cheeks,
And his lip trembles as he speaks.

Come, little daughter Maud, I pray,
And tell me truly why you stay
So often and so long away.

A moment, and two arms, so fair,
Are round his neck -- a sunny pair
Of eyes look on him -- Maud is there.

See, pretty dear, the old man said,
These hollyhocks, one fresh and red
With youthful bloom -- the other dead.

The stony wall whereby they be,
Is the hard world, and you'll agree
The hollyhocks are you and me.

My weary, worn out life is done,
With all of rain, and dew, and sun,
Thine, darling, is but just begun.

So take my staff and hang it high,
And kiss me: Nay, you must not cry,
I've nothing left to do but die!

And Maud hath made her blue eyes dry,
And in a whisper makes reply,
And if you die, I too must die!

That night, beside the stony wall,
Where grew two hollyhocks -- one tall
And flowerless -- one bright and small --

Covered with moonshine they were found,
Lying dead together on the ground,
Their arms about each other wound.

What miracle may not be true,
Since oft the hardest one to do
Is done -- the making one of two?


Copyright 1855
Boston: Ticknor And Fields