The Garden of Memory

by George Arnold

George Arnold

HERE is a garden which my memory knows,
A grand old garden of the days gone by,
Where lofty trees invite the breeze,
And underneath them blooms full many a rose,
Of rarest crimson or deep purple dye;
And there extend as far as eye can see,
Dim vistas of cool greenery.
Quaint marble statues, clothed with vines and
Gleam gray and spectral'mid the foliage there:
Grimly they stand on every hand,
Along the walk whose sands are smoothly rolled,
And borders trimmed with constant, watchful, care:
There Memory sits, and hears soft voices call
Above the plashing waterfall.
Old, faded bowers, with their rustic seats
Of knotted branches closely intertwined,
May there be seen the walks between:
Within their shade the dove at noon retreats,
And gives her sad voice to the summer wind;
Around them bloom rich flowers, where all day
The wild bee drones his dreamy song.
The garden stretches downward to a lake,
Where gentle ripples kiss a pebbly shore:
All cool and deep the waters sleep,
With naught the calm of their repose to break
Save now and then the plashing of an oar,
Or the long train of diamond sparkles bright
Left by the wayward swallow's flight.
Within that garden Memory oft recalls
Gay friends, who lived, and loved, and passed
Who met at morn upon the lawn,
And strolled in couples by the garden-walls,
Or on the grass beneath the maples lay,
And passed the hours as gayly as might be,
With olden tales of chivalry.
The younger maidens, each with silken net,
Chased butterflies that hung, on painted wings,
Above the beds where poppy-heads
Drooped heavily with morning dew-drops wet:
In recollection still their laughter rings,
And still I seem to see them sport among
The statues gray, with vines o'erhung:
One sainted maiden I remember well,
And shall remember, though all else should
Her dreamy eyes, her gentle sighs,
Her golden hair in tangled curls that fell,
Her queen-like beauty and demeanor staid,
And 0, her smile, that played at hide-and-seek
With dimples on her chin and cheek!
0 Edith! often have we sat at rest,
And watched the sunset from the Lover's
When few, faint stars shone through the bars
Of purple cloud that stretched athwart the west;
And Nature's pulse seemed silently to thrill,
While Night came o'er the moorlands wide and
On dusky pinions sweeping down.
Long years have faded since those happy days,
Yet still in memory are their joys enshrined.
Tall grasses wave o'er Edith's grave;
Above her breast the birds sing plaintive lays;
Yet still I feel her arms about me twined;
Still float her tangled tresses in the breeze;
Still sit we'neath the maple-trees.
Thus may it be, until I too am gone!
Thus let me ever dream of youth and love!
And when the strife of earthly life
Is past; when all my weary tasks are done,
I know that in some garden there, above,
My angel Edith waits to welcome me
Unto thy halls, Eternity

Last updated September 17, 2022