Warned

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   They stood at the garden gate.
      By the lifting of a lid
   She might have read her fate
      In a little thing he did.

   He plucked a beautiful flower;
      Tore it away from its place
   On the side of the blooming bower;
      And held it against his face.

   Drank in its beauty and bloom,
      In the midst of his idle talk;
   Then cast it down to the gloom
      And dust of the garden walk.

   Ay, trod it under his foot,
      As it lay in his pathway there;
   Then spurned it away with his boot,
      Because it bad ceased to be fair.

   Ah! the maiden might have read
      The doom of her young life then;
   But she looked in his eyes instead,
      And thought him the king of men.

   She looked in his eyes and blushed,
      She hid in his strong arms’ fold;
   And the tale of the flower, crushed
      And spurned, was once more told.

from An Englishman and Other Poems by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1912)

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