To the century plant

            Plant of a hundred years! destroying Time
            Passes thy gentle race with hurrying trend,
            Leaves their bright petals colorless and dim,
            Strews with their withered leaves the mossy bed,
            And sweeps them onward with the countless dead,
            Ere the swift passing of the summer hour --
            But, beauteous flower, above thy towering head
            An age hath passed and left no trace of power:
        Plant of a hundred years, thou seem'st Time's favorite flower!
 
            I would that he had passed less lightly o'er thee,
            And on thy polished leaves some record made,
            Of all the scenes that long since passed before thee,
            When round thee waved a forest, in whose shade
            The Indian lover wooed his dusky maid, --
            When the red warriors lit their council fires,
            As peal'd the war-cry over hill and glade,
            And then in triumph raised the funeral pyre
        Of the ill-fated captive, bride, or son, or sire.
 
            Alas, fair flower! they've vanished from the earth,
            That wronged and injured race, and none are here
            Of all the friends that knew thee at thy birth, --
            No longer near thee rests the wearied deer,
            Thy sister flowers have faded with each year;
            Still thou remainest, though they all have flown,
            Like some strange being from another sphere,
            Or like some aged man, sad and alone, --
        May I not linger here, when those I love are gone!
 


This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.