Roses And Rue

by Oscar Wilde

(To L. L.)

Could we dig up this long-buried treasure,

Were it worth the pleasure,

We never could learn love's song,

We are parted too long.

Could the passionate past that is fled

Call back its dead,

Could we live it all over again,

Were it worth the pain!

I remember we used to meet

By an ivied seat,

And you warbled each pretty word

With the air of a bird;

And your voice had a quaver in it,

Just like a linnet,

And shook, as the blackbird's throat

With its last big note;

And your eyes, they were green and grey

Like an April day,

But lit into amethyst

When I stooped and kissed;

And your mouth, it would never smile

For a long, long while,

Then it rippled all over with laughter

Five minutes after.

You were always afraid of a shower,

Just like a flower:

I remember you started and ran

When the rain began.

I remember I never could catch you,

For no one could match you,

You had wonderful, luminous, fleet,

Little wings to your feet.

I remember your hair; did I tie it?

For it always ran riot -

Like a tangled sunbeam of gold:

These things are old.

I remember so well the room,

And the lilac bloom

That beat at the dripping pane

In the warm June rain;

And the colour of your gown,

It was amber-brown,

And two yellow satin bows

From your shoulders rose.

And the handkerchief of French lace

Which you held to your face -

Had a small tear left a stain?

Or was it the rain?

On your hand as it waved adieu

There were veins of blue;

In your voice as it said good-bye

Was a petulant cry,

'You have only wasted your life.'

(Ah, that was the knife!)

When I rushed through the garden gate

It was all too late.

Could we live it over again,

Were it worth the pain,

Could the passionate past that is fled

Call back its dead!

Well, if my heart must break,

Dear love, for your sake,

It will break in music, I know,

Poets' hearts break so.

But strange that I was not told

That the brain can hold

In a tiny ivory cell

God's heaven and hell.