Patrick Edward Quinn

(1862-1926 / Australia)

A Girl's Grave


"Aged 17, OF A BROKEN HEART, January 1st, 1841."

What story is here of broken love,
   What idyllic sad romance,
What arrow fretted the silken dove
   That met with such grim mischance?

I picture you, sleeper of long ago,
   When you trifled and danced and smiled,
All golden laughter and beauty's glow
   In a girl life sweet and wild.

Hair with the red gold's luring tinge,
   Fine as the finest silk,
Violet eyes with a golden fringe
   And cheeks of roses and milk.

Something of this you must have been,
   Something gentle and sweet,
To have broken your heart at seventeen
   And died in such sad defeat.

Hardly one of your kinsfolk live,
   It was all so long ago,
The tale of the cruel love to give
   That laid you here so low.

Loving, trusting, and foully paid --
   The story is easily guessed,
A blotted sun and skies that fade
   And this grass-grown grave the rest.

Whatever the cynic may sourly say,
   With a dash of truth, I ween,
Of the girls of the period, in your day
   They had hearts at seventeen.

Dead of a fashion out of date,
   Such folly has passed away
Like the hoop and patch and modish gait
   That went out with an older day.

The stone is battered and all awry,
   The words can be scarcely read,
The rank reeds clustering thick and high
   Over your buried head.

I pluck one straight as a Paynim's lance
   To keep your memory green,
For the lordly sake of old Romance
   And your own, sad seventeen.

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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