Theodore Tilton



Red, White, And Blue

by Theodore Tilton


Red Cypress! Thee I pluck to-day.
All flowers have meanings, poets say.
The legend of thy leaf
Is death and grief:
Thou growest for the sake
Of hearts that break.
And since so many hearts have bled,
Thy star hath grown blood-red.
Thee on my breast I wear,
To show a heart bleeds there!


White Rose! Why pluck I not the red?
The red rose is for love;
And love I not my dead?
What speaks the white rose of?
Of love in its despair!
This woe is mine to bear --
So I the white rose wear.


Blue Harebell! Swing thyself in toll
For a departed soul!
Grief is thy other name;
Grief bendeth down thy head;
Grief boweth mine the same --
Grief for my dead!
But grief, most grieving, is most blest!
O, heart of mine! beat not my breast.
God knoweth best:
So be at rest!

Written in 1863, when everybody was wearing a rosette of red, white, and blue.


The Sexton's Tale, And Other Poems.
Copyright 1867
Sheldon And Company, New York.