by Rose Terry Cooke
Who knows the secret of the rose?
Deep in her silent heart it glows:
The sun alone, from upper air,
Discerns the heavenly mystery there.
Is there one human soul that knows
The sacred secret of the rose?
Not he who sad and daunted stands,
Afraid to reach his trembling hands,
Afraid to grasp the bliss that lies
Deep in those golden mysteries,
Lest men or angels shout in scorn
The legend of the rose's thorn.
Not he who wastes his listless hours,
Like idle moths, on any flowers;
High on the rose's front serene
Blazes the crown that marks the queen
No soul that dares that sign deny
Shall in her fragrant bosom lie.
Nor he who knows no more delight
Than dwells within his fickle sight;
For blush and bloom may pass away
In compass of a summer's day;
But still the rose's heart is sweet,
Though all its outward glow be fleet.
But he who meets its keenest thorn
With gracious strength and tender scorn;
Who knows the royal heart that stands
Waiting the touch of royal hands;
Who trusts to love's eternity
When love's own blossoms fade and die;
Who waits with passion's patient strength
For passion's peace, that comes at length --
He only conquers, for he knows
The sacred secret of the rose.
William S. Gottsberger
11 Murray Street