To the memory of "Annie" who died at Milan, June 6, 1860
"Jesus saith unto her, Woman why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?
She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have
borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him."-- John 20.15
In the fair garden of celestial Peace
Walketh a Gardener in meekness clad;
Fair are the flowers that wreathe his dewy locks,
And his mysterious eyes are sweet and sad.
Fair are the silent foldings of his robes,
Falling with saintly calmness to his feet;
And when he walks, each floweret to his will
With living pulse of sweet accord doth beat.
Every green leaf thrills to its tender heart,
In the mild summer radiance of his eye;
No fear of storm, or cold, or bitter frost,
Shadows the flowerets when their sun is nigh.
And all our pleasant haunts of earthly love
Are nurseries to those gardens of the air;
And his far-darting eye, with starry beam,
Watcheth the growing of his treasures there.
We call them ours, o'erswept with selfish tears,
O'erwatched with restless longings night and day;
Forgetful of the high, mysterious right
He holds to bear our cherished plants away.
But when some sunny spot in those bright fields
Needs the fair presence of an added flower,
down sweeps a starry angel in the night:
At morn, the rose has vanished from our bower.
Where stood our tree, our flower, there is a grave!
Blank, silent, vacant, but in worlds above,
Like a new star outblossomed in the skies,
The angels hail an added flower of love.
Dear friend, no more upon that lonely mound,
Strewed with the red and yellow autumn leaf,
Drop thou the tear, but raise the fainting eye
Beyond the autumn mists of earthly grief.
Thy garden rosebud bore, within its breast,
Those mysteries of color, warm and bright,
That the bleak climate of this lower sphere
Could never waken into form and light.
Yes, the sweet Gardener hath borne her hence,
Nor must thou ask to take her thence away;
Thou shalt behold her in some coming hour,
Full-blossomed in his fields of cloudless day.