Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
By George Bradford Bartlett (1832–1896)
AS I sit at my desk by the window, when the garden with dew is wet,
On the morning incense rises the breath of the mignonette,
Laden with tender memories of thirty years ago,
When she gave me her worthless promise, and we loved each other so,
Till her tough old worldly mother let her maiden charms be sold        5
To a miser, as hard and yellow as his hoard of shining gold.
As in Central Park I met them on their cheerful morning ride,
As she snarled at her henpecked husband who was crouching by her side,
I thought in the dust of the pathway, “I have the best of you yet!”
Far better the dream of a fadeless love in the breath of the mignonette,        10
And little Alice and Mabel, and the children that might have been,
Come dancing out on the paper at a twirl of the magic pen,—
Not a horrid boy among them, but a bevy of little girls
With great brown eyes, love-shining, ’mid a halo of golden curls.
They never grow old or naughty; and in them I fail to see        15
The slightest fault or taint of sin which could have been charged to me.
They are mine, all mine forever! No lover to them can come,
To steal away their loving hearts to grace a doubtful home.
And so, when the tender evening or morning with dew is wet,
I dream of my vanished darlings in the breath of the mignonette.        20

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