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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

La Grisette

By Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809–1894)

[From Poetical Works. Household Edition. 1887.]

AH Clemence! when I saw thee last

Trip down the Rue de Seine,

And turning, when thy form had past,

I said, “We meet again,”—

I dreamed not in that idle glance

Thy latest image came,

And only left to memory’s trance

A shadow and a name.

The few strange words my lips had taught

Thy timid voice to speak,

Their gentler signs, which often brought

Fresh roses to thy cheek,

The trailing of thy long loose hair

Bent o’er my couch of pain,

All, all returned, more sweet, more fair;

O had we met again!

I walked where saint and virgin keep

The vigil lights of Heaven,

I knew that thou hadst woes to weep,

And sins to be forgiven;

I watched where Genevieve was laid,

I knelt by Mary’s shrine,

Beside me low, soft voices prayed;

Alas! but where was thine?

And when the morning sun was bright,

When wind and wave were calm,

And flamed, in thousand-tinted light,

The rose of Notre Dame,

I wandered through the haunts of men,

From Boulevard to Quai,

Till, frowning o’er Saint Etienne,

The Pantheon’s shadow lay.

In vain, in vain; we meet no more,

Nor dream what fates befall;

And long upon the stranger’s shore

My voice on thee may call,

When years have clothed the line in moss

That tells thy name and days,

And withered, on thy simple cross,

The wreaths of Père-la-Chaise!