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Treasury of Sacred Song
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CCLXXIV

When Nature tries her finest touch,

Weaving her vernal wreath,

Mark ye, how close she veils her round,

Not to be traced by sight or sound,

Nor soil'd by ruder breath?

Who ever saw the earliest rose

First open her sweet breast?

Or, when the summer sun goes down,

The first soft star in evening's crown

Light up her gleaming crest?

Fondly we seek the dawning bloom

On features wan and fair,--

The gazing eye no change can trace,

But look away a little space,

Then turn, and lo! 'tis there.

But there's a sweeter flower than e'er

Blush'd on the rosy spray--

A brighter star, a richer bloom

Than e'er did western heaven illume

At close of summer day.

'Tis Love, the last best gift of Heaven;

Love gentle, holy, pure;

But tenderer than a dove's soft eye,

The searching sun, the open sky,

She never could endure.

So still and secret is her growth,

Ever the truest heart,

Where deepest strikes her kindly root

For hope or joy, for flower or fruit

Least knows its happy part.

E'en human Love will shrink from sight

Here in the coarse rude earth:

How then should rash intruding glance

Break in upon her sacred trance

Who boasts a heavenly birth?

No--let the dainty rose awhile

Her bashful fragrance hide--

Rend not her silken veil too soon,

But leave her, in her own soft noon,

To flourish and abide.

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