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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

The Last Gentian

By Thomas William Parsons (1819–1892)

[Born in Boston, Mass., 1819. Died in Scituate, Mass., 1892. From The Shadow of the Obelisk, and Other Poems. 1872.]

SEE! I survive because I bowed my head,

Hearing the Snow’s first footfall in the air;

I felt his cold kiss on my check with dread,

And to my sister said, Beware!

And stooped beneath my bank and let him pass.

Next morn the brook was glass:

My simple sister, in her pride,

Disdained to bow her head, so drooped and died.

Last gentian of the withering year!

Left for Augusta’s hand,

Thou shalt not linger shivering here

By the bleak north wind fanned,

Until thy blue eye turn to gray,

And from thy lids the lashes fall away.

I will not leave thee, loving thee so well,

To face the ruin of November’s air;

But thou shalt go where Summer still doth dwell,

Soft light and bird-song,—all things bright or fair,—

And happy thoughts and wise thoughts fed with books,

And gentle speech, and loving looks

From eyes that still make sunshine everywhere.

For know, thou trembling stem, that not alone

My lady bears the summer in her name;

Her heart is of that season; and her tone

When she shall greet thee,—guessing whence it came,—

And the sweet welcome of her smile

Thy simple soul shall so beguile,

That hadst thou lips as lids, those lips would say

The day I found thee was thy sunniest day.