The Poetry Corner

Poor Withered Rose

By Paul Laurence Dunbar

A Song Poor withered rose, she gave it me, Half in revenge and half in glee; Its petals not so pink by half As are her lips when curled to laugh, As are her cheeks when dimples gay In merry mischief o'er them play. Chorus Forgive, forgive, it seems unkind To cast thy petals to the wind; But it is right, and lest I err So scatter I all thought of her. Poor withered rose, so like my heart, That wilts at sorrow's cruel dart. Who hath not felt the winter's blight When every hope seemed warm and bright? Who doth not know love unreturned, E'en when the heart most wildly burned? Poor withered rose, thou liest dead; Too soon thy beauty's bloom hath fled. 'Tis not without a tearful ruth I watch decay thy blushing youth; And though thy life goes out in dole, Thy perfume lingers in my soul.