Why should this flower delay so long
To show its tremulous plumes?
Now is the time of plaintive robin-song,
When flowers are in their tombs.
Through the slow summer, when the sun
Called to each frond and whorl
That all he could for flowers was being done,
Why did it not uncurl?
It must have felt that fervid call
Although it took no heed,
Waking but now, when leaves like corpses fall,
And saps all retrocede.
Too late its beauty, lonely thing,
The season’s shine is spent,
Nothing remains for it but shivering
In tempests turbulent.
Had it a reason for delay,
Dreaming in witlessness
That for a bloom so delicately gay
Winter would stay its stress?
– I talk as if the thing were born
With sense to work its mind;
Yet it is but one mask of many worn
By the Great Face behind.