Miscellaneous Poems

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Poor Withered Rose—A Song

Additional Information
  • Year Published: 1913
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States of America
  • Source: Dunbar, P.L. (1913). The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company.
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 6.5
  • Word Count: 160
  • Genre: Poetry
  • Keywords: death, hope
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Poor withered rose, she gave it me,
Half in revenge and half in glee;
Its petals not so pink by half
As are her lips when curled to laugh,
As are her cheeks when dimples gay
In merry mischief o’er them play.

Forgive, forgive, it seems unkind
To cast thy petals to the wind;
But it is right, and lest I err
So scatter I all thought of her.
Poor withered rose, so like my heart,
That wilts at sorrow’s cruel dart.
Who hath not felt the winter’s blight
When every hope seemed warm and bright?
Who doth not know love unreturned,
E’en when the heart most wildly burned?

Poor withered rose, thou liest dead;
Too soon thy beauty’s bloom hath fled.
‘Tis not without a tearful ruth
I watch decay thy blushing youth;
And though thy life goes out in dole,
Thy perfume lingers in my soul.