Edward Fitzgerald

(31 March 1809 – 14 June 1883 / Suffolk / England)

On Anne Allen


The wind blew keenly from the Western sea,
And drove the dead leaves slanting from the tree--
Vanity of vanities, the Preacher saith--
Heaping them up before her Father's door
When I saw her whom I shall see no more--
We cannot bribe thee, Death.

She went abroad the falling leaves among,
She saw the merry season fade, and sung--
Vanity of vanities the Preacher saith--
Freely she wandered in the leafless wood,
And said that all was fresh, and fair, and good--
She knew thee not, O Death.

She bound her shining hair across her brow,
She went into the garden fading now;
Vanity of vanities the Preacher saith--
And if one sighed to think that it was sere,
She smiled to think that it would bloom next year!
She feared thee not, O Death.

Blooming she came back to the cheerful room
With all the fairer flowers yet in bloom--
Vanity of vanities the Preacher saith--
A fragrant knot for each of us she tied,
And placed the fairest at her Father's side--
She cannot charm thee, Death.

Her pleasant smile spread sunshine upon all;
We heard her sweet clear laughter in the Hall--
Vanity of vanities the Preacher saith--
We heard her sometimes after evening prayer,
As she went singing softly up the stair--
No voice can charm thee, Death.

Where is the pleasant smile, the laughter kind,
That made sweet music of the winter wind?
Vanity of vanities the Preacher saith--
Idly they gaze upon her empty place,
Her kiss hath faded from her Father's face--
She is with thee, O Death.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 21, 2010

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