Madison Julius Cawein
A Legend Of The Lily - Poem by Madison Julius Cawein
Pale as a star that shines through rain
Her face was seen at the window-pane,
Her sad, frail face that watched in vain.
The face of a girl whose brow was wan,
To whom the kind sun spoke at dawn,
And a star and the moon when the day was gone.
And oft and often the sun had said
'O fair, white face, O sweet, fair head,
Come talk with me of the love that's dead.'
And she would sit in the sun awhile,
Down in the garth by the old stone-dial,
Where never again would he make her smile.
And often the first bright star o'erhead
Had whispered,'Sweet, where the rose blooms red,
Come look with me for the love that's dead.'
And she would wait with the star she knew,
Where the fountain splashed and the roses blew,
Where never again would he come to woo.
And oft the moon, when she lay in bed,
Had sighed,'Dear heart, in the orchardstead,
Come, dream with me of the love that's dead.'
And she would stand in the moon, the dim,
Where the fruit made heavy the apple limb,
Where never again would she dream with him.
So summer passed and the autumn came;
And the wind-torn boughs were touched with flame;
But her life and her sorrow remained the same.
Or, if she changed, as it comes about
A life may change through trouble and doubt,
As a candle flickers and then goes out,
'T was only to grow more quiet and wan,
Sadly waiting at dusk and at dawn
For the coming of love forever gone.
And so, one night, when the star looked in,
It kissed her face that was white and thin,
And murmured,'Come! thou free of sin!'
And when the moon, on another night,
Beheld her lying still and white,
It sighed,''T is well! now all is right.'
And when one morning the sun arose,
And they bore her bier down the garden-close,
It touched her, saying,'At last, repose.'
And they laid her down, so young and fair,
Where the grass was withered, the bough was bare,
All wrapped in the light of her golden hair….
So autumn passed and the winter went;
And spring, like a blue-eyed penitent,
Came, telling her beads of blossom and scent.
And, lo! to the grave of the beautiful
The strong sun cried,'Why art thou dull?
Awake! awake! Forget thy skull!'
And the evening star and the moon above
Called out,'O dust, now speak thereof!
Proclaim thyself! Arise, O love!'
And the skull and the dust in the darkness heard.
Each icy germ in its cerements stirred,
As Lazarus moved at the Lord's loud word.
And a flower arose on the mound of green,
White as the robe of the Nazarene;
To testify of the life unseen.
And I paused by the grave; then went my way:
And it seemed that I heard the lily say
'Here was a miracle wrought to-day.'
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