To Louise.

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by Paul Laurence Dunbar

OH, the poets may sing of their Lady Irenes,
And may rave in their rhymes about
wonderful queens;
But I throw my poetical wings to the breeze,
And soar in a song to my Lady Louise.
A sweet little maid, who is dearer, I ween,
Than any fair duchess, or even a queen.
When speaking of her I can't plod in my
prose,
For she 's the wee lassie who gave me a rose.

Since poets, from seeing a lady's lip curled,
Have written fair verse that has sweetened the
world;
Why, then, should not I give the space of an
hour
To making a song in return for a flower?

I have found in my life--it has not been so
long--
There are too few of flowers--too little of song.
So out of that blossom, this lay of mine grows,
For the dear little lady who gave me the rose.

I thank God for innocence, dearer than Art,
That lights on a by-way which leads to the
heart,
And led by an impulse no less than divine,
Walks into the temple and sits at the shrine.
I would rather pluck daisies that grow in the
wild,
Or take one simple rose from the hand of a
child,
Than to breathe the rich fragrance of flowers
that bide
In the gardens of luxury, passion, and pride.

I know not, my wee one, how came you to know
Which way to my heart was the right way to go;
Unless in your purity, soul-clean and clear,
God whispers his messages into your ear.

You have now had my song, let me end with a
prayer
That your life may be always sweet, happy, and
fair;
That your joys may be many, and absent your
woes,
O dear little lady who gave me the rose!

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