Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Nov. 5, 1850 - Oct. 30, 1919



by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I knew it the first of the summer,
I knew it the same at the end,
That you and your love were plighted;
But couldn't you be my friend?
Couldn't we sit in the twilight,
Couldn't we walk on the shore
With only a pleasant friendship
To bind us, and nothing more?

There was not a word of folly
Spoken between us two,
Though we lingered oft in the garden
Till the roses were wet with dew.
We touched on a thousand subjects --
The moon and the worlds above, --
And our talk was tinctured with science,
And everything else, save love.

A wholly Platonic friendship
You said I had proven to you
Could bind a man and a woman
The whole long season through,
With never a thought of flirting,
Though both were in their youth.
What would you have said, my lady,
If you had known the truth!

What would you have done, I wonder,
Had I gone on my knees to you
And told you my passionate story,
There in the dusk and the dew.
My burning, burdensome story,
Hidden and hushed so long --
My story of hopeless loving --
Say, would you have thought it wrong?

But I fought with my heart and conquered,
I hid my wound from sight;
You were going away in the morning,
And I said a calm good-night.
But now when I sit in the twilight,
Or when I walk by the sea
That friendship, quite Platonic,
Comes surging over me.
And a passionate longing fills me
For the roses, the dusk, the dew;
For the beautiful summer vanished,
For the moonlight walks -- and you.


How Salvator Won And Other Recitations
Copyright 1891
Edgar S. Werner, New York
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