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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

Sub Rosa

By George Lunt (1803–1885)

[From Poems. 1884.]

THE GOD of Love, sweet Rose!

Thee lovely saw, and chose

An emblem of his power;

From out thy perfumed fold

His breath of fragrance rolled,

And his own tint imbued the blushing flower.

At eve, the desert child

Lonely upon the wild

Trembled, bedropt with dew;

He plucked it in its tears,

All sweeter for its fears,

And to the god of silence panting flew.

“Be this,” he cried, “my sign,—

Take it,—this hour is mine,

The hush, the glow, the shade;

Make thou this matchless flower

Symbol in hall or bower

Of vows and spoken thoughts, but unbetrayed.”

Since then, when cups went round,

Or, long in silence bound,

To love hearts yielded pride,

Under the rose uphung,

Words that, half whispered, clung

To lips, or uttered, with the moment died.

Thus, round the rose was wreathed,

By Love and Silence breathed,

That old, unbroken spell;

From such sweet fountain flows

The legend of the Rose,

And thus, Sub Rosa means, You must not tell.