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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Violet
By William Winter (1836–1917)
 
From ‘Wanderers’

ONE name I shall not forget—
Gentle name of Violet.
 
Many and strange the years have sped:
She who bore that name is dead;
 
Dead—and resting by the sea,        5
Where she gave her heart to me.
 
Dead—and now the grasses wave,
And the dry leaves, o’er her grave,
 
Rustling in the autumn wind,
Like the sad thoughts in my mind.        10
 
She was light, and soon forgot;
Loved me well, and loved me not;
 
Changeful as the April sky,—
Kind or cruel, sad or shy;
 
Gray eyes, winsome, arch, and fair—        15
My youth’s passion and despair.
 
Now through storms of many years,
Now through tender mist of tears,
 
Looking backward, I can see
She was always true to me:        20
 
Yet, with prisoned tears that burn,
Cold we parted, wayward, stern;
 
Spoke the quiet, farewell word,
Neither meant and neither heard;
 
Spoke—and parted in our pain,        25
Never more to meet again.
 
Sometimes underneath the moon,
On rose-laden nights of June,
 
When white clouds drift o’er the blue,
While the pale stars glimmer through,        30
 
And the honeysuckle throws
Fragrant challenge to the rose,
 
And the liberal pine-tree flings
Perfume on the midnight’s wings,—
 
Came, with thrills of hope and fear,        35
Mystic sense that she was near;
 
Came the thought: Through good and ill
She loves, and she remembers still!
 
But no word e’er came or went;
And when nine long years were spent,        40
 
Something in my bosom said,
Very softly: She is dead!
 
Now, at sombre autumn eve,
Wandering where the woodlands grieve,
 
Or where wild winds whistle free,        45
On the hills that front the sea,
 
Cruel thoughts of love and loss
Nail my spirit to the cross.
 
Friends have fallen, youth is gone,
Fields are brown and skies are wan;        50
 
One name I shall not forget,—
Gentle name of Violet.
 
 
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