Portrait of Henry Timrod

Henry Timrod

Dec 8, 1828 - Oct 6, 1867


The Lily Confidante

by Henry Timrod

Lily! lady of the garden!
Let me press my lip to thine!
Love must tell its story, Lily!
Listen thou to mine.

Two I choose to know the secret --
Thee, and yonder wordless flute;
Dragons watch me, tender Lily,
And thou must be mute.

There's a maiden, and her name is . . .
Hist! was that a rose-leaf fell?
See, the Rose is listening, Lily,
And the Rose may tell.

Lily-browed and lily-hearted,
She is very dear to me;
Lovely? yes, if being lovely,
Is -- resembling thee.

Six to half a score of summers
Make the sweetest of the "teens" --
Not too young to guess, dear Lily,
What a lover means.

Laughing girl, and thoughtful woman,
I am puzzled how to woo, --
Shall I praise, or pique her, Lily?
Tell me what to do.

Silly lover, if thy Lily
Like her sister lilies be,
Thou must woo, if thou wouldst wear her,
With a simple plea.

Love's the lover's only magic,
Truth the very subtlest art,
Love that feigns, and lips that flatter
Win no modest heart.

As the dewdrop in my bosom,
Be thy guileless language, youth!
Falsehood buyeth falsehood only,
Truth must purchase truth.

As thou talkest at the fireside,
With the little children by,
As thou prayest in the darkness,
When thy God is nigh,

With a speech as chaste and gentle,
And such meanings as become
Ear of child, or ear of angel --
Speak, or be thou dumb.

Woo her thus, and she shall give thee
Of her heart the sinless whole,
All the girl within her bosom,
And her woman's soul.


Copyright 1860
Ticknor And Fields, Boston