Rose Hartwick Thorpe Picture

Rose Hartwick Thorpe

July 18, 1850 - July 19, 1939


Preface To Ringing Ballads

by Rose Hartwick Thorpe

Beside St. Joseph's shallow stream,
Whose crystal waters wander,
With drowsy ripple, glint, and gleam,
The bending willows under,

In the resplendent twilight hour,
When western skies were golden,
And solitude held magic power
With superstition olden, --

Just where the glory flushed the stream,
A shy-faced, sun-brown maiden,
Whose eyes had caught the sunset gleam,
Whose hands were blossom-laden,

Oft lingered there, wide boughs beneath,
The twilight hush around her,
To cull sweet flowers and weave a wreath,
Some day, perchance, to crown her.

Her blossoms were those simple blooms
Which nature sometimes wedges,
In crowded places, mid the glooms
Of shady hazel hedges;

That push their heads above the sod,
In many a rude fence-corner, --
But still they were the flowers of God,
Fit jewels to adorn her.

Many a rose she wove, betimes,
Mid simple, wayside posies;
For love, so sweet and thorny, finds
Its counterpart in roses.

And still her garland grew and grew,
While summner skies were hazy,
With here and there a pansy blue,
And here and there a daisy,

And here and there a buttercup,
Plucked where the bees were humming;
For all her blossom-world looked up
And smiled to greet her coming.

Once, in a leafy, woodland bower
By girlhood's sunny portal,
She found a sweeter, rarer flower,
That grew from seed immortal.

The great world said: 'Tis wondrous fair!
We do not want your posies;
But give to us this blossom rare,
This regal queen of roses.

She plucked it forth from bud and leaf
That clustered close about it,
She gave it -- but her rosy wreath
Was incomplete without it.

The great world said: 'Tis wondrous fair!
Unlike your wayside posies.
Go thou, and find more blossoms rare, --
Bring us more queens of roses.

Her sweet hedgerows are left behind,
Long past is girlhood's portal;
Perchance she never more will find
Flowers grown from seed immortal.

But she has other rosy blooms,
Not quite devoid of graces,
Gleaned here and there among life's glooms
And in its sunny places.

Accept the many for the one, --
The starry lights, God-given,
Are countless, while a single sun
Illumes the dome of heaven.

Some weary one along life's way,
Dazed by the sun's fierce splendor,
Would miss those starry eyes if they,
More brilliant, were less tender.

Sweet clover-bloom and cowslip fair,
Though field and meadow posies,
May still be loved, and honors share
With Love's bright queen of roses.


Ringing Ballads
Copyright 1887
D Lothrop Company,Franklin And Hawley Streets,Boston