Frank Dempster Sherman


Mnemosyne's Mirror

by Frank Dempster Sherman

When Summer comes and brings the rose,
My glass the winter's landscape shows:
The spectral wood and shrouded field,
The garden's lips in silence sealed,
The north-wind's icy bitter breath
As 't were the stirrup cup of death;
The pulseless brook, the absent song,
The sunlight brief and shadows long.

But comes December's day, and then
My mirror shows me June again:
The garden's million lips of bloom
Speaking their language of perfume;
The lyric quavers of the thrush
Shot, arrow like, across the hush;
The laughing brook, the lisping leaf,
The sunlight long and shadows brief.

Grant me, Mnemosyne, when old,
This magic mirror still to hold,
Transforming Time in such a way
That I shall see Youth's yesterday
Reflected there, and view once more
My boat upon Life's morning shore:
What else -- I heed not -- take from me;
Leave but this glass of memory!


Lyrics For A Lute
Copyright 1890
Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin, and Company