Verse > Anthologies > Fuess and Stearns, eds. > The Little Book of Society Verse
Fuess and Stearns, comps.  The Little Book of Society Verse.  1922.
By Thomas Bailey Aldrich
I SAY it under the rose—
  Oh, thanks!—yes, under the laurel,
We part lovers, not foes:
  We are not going to quarrel.
We have too long been friends        5
  On foot and in gilded coaches,
Now that the whole thing ends,
  To spoil our kiss with reproaches.
I leave you; my soul is wrung;
  I pause, look back from the portal—        10
Ah, I no more am young,
  And you, child, you are immortal!
Mine is the glacier’s way,
  Yours is the blossom’s weather—
When were December and May        15
  Known to be happy together?
Before my kisses grow tame,
  Before my moodiness grieve you,
While yet my heart is flame,
  And I all lover, I leave you.        20
So, in the coming time,
  When you count the rich years over,
Think of me in my prime,
  And not as a white-haired lover.
Fretful, pierced with regret,        25
  The wraith of a dead Desire
Thrumming a cracked spinet
  By a slowly dying fire.
When, at last, I am cold—
  Years hence, if the gods so will it—        30
Say, “He was true as gold,”
  And wear a rose in your fillet!
Others, tender as I,
  Will come and sue for caresses,
Woo you, win you, and die—        35
  Mind you, a rose in your tresses!
Some Melpomene woo,
  Some hold Clio the nearest;
You, sweet Comedy—you
  Were ever sweetest and dearest!        40
Nay, it is time to go.
  When writing your tragic sister
Say to that child of woe
  How sorry I was I missed her.
Really I cannot stay,        45
  Though “parting is such sweet sorrow” …
Perhaps I will, on my way
  Down-town, look in to-morrow!

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