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- I GREW a rose within a garden fair,
- And, tending it with more than loving care,
- I thought how, with the glory of its bloom,
- I should the darkness of my life illume;
- And, watching, ever smiled to see the lusty bud
- Drink freely in the summer sun to tinct its blood.
- My rose began to open, and its hue
- Was sweet to me as to it sun and dew;
- I watched it taking on its ruddy flame
- Until the day of perfect blooming came,
- Then hasted I with smiles to find it blushing red--
- Too late! Some thoughtless child had plucked my rose and fled!
- I grew a rose once more to please mine eyes.
- All things to aid it -- dew, sun, wind, fair skies --
- Were kindly; and to shield it from despoil,
- I fenced it safely in with grateful toil.
- No other hand than mine shall pluck this flower, said I,
- And I was jealous of the bee that hovered nigh.
- It grew for days; I stood hour after hour
- To watch the slow unfolding of the flower,
- And then I did not leave its side at all,
- Lest some mischance my flower should befall.
- At last, oh joy! the central petals burst apart.
- It blossomed--but, alas! a worm was at its heart!
- Paul Laurence Dunbar
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