Promise and Fulfilment.

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by Paul Laurence Dunbar

PROMISE.

I GREW a rose within a garden fair,
And, tending it with more than loving care,
I thought how, with the glory of its bloom,
I should the darkness of my life illume;
And, watching, ever smiled to see the lusty bud
Drink freely in the summer sun to tinct its
blood.

My rose began to open, and its hue
Was sweet to me as to it sun and dew;
I watched it taking on its ruddy flame
Until the day of perfect blooming came,
Then hasted I with smiles to find it blushing
red--
Too late! Some thoughtless child had plucked
my rose and fled!

FULFILMENT

I GREW a rose once more to please mine eyes.
All things to aid it--dew, sun, wind, fair
skies--
Were kindly; and to shield it from despoil,
I fenced it safely in with grateful toil.
No other hand than mine shall pluck this
flower, said I,
And I was jealous of the bee that hovered nigh.

It grew for days; I stood hour after hour
To watch the slow unfolding of the flower,
And then I did not leave its side at all,
Lest some mischance my flower should befall.
At last, oh joy! the central petals burst apart.
It blossomed--but, alas! a worm was at its
heart!

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