by: Bret Harte (1836-1902)
- WEET MARY,
maid of San Andreas,
- Upon her natal day,
- Procured an album, double-gilt,
- Entitled, "The Bouquet."
- But what its purpose was beyond
- Its name, she could not guess;
- And so between its gilded leaves
- The flowers he gave she'd press.
- Yet blame her not, poetic youth!
- Nor deem too great the wrong;
- She knew not Hawthorne's bloom, nor loved
- Macaulay-flowers of song.
- Her hymn-book was the total sum
- Of her poetic lore,
- And, having read through Dr. Watts,
- She did not ask for Moore.
- But when she ope'd her book again,
- How great was her surprise
- To find the leaves on either side
- Stained deep with crimson dyes.
- And in that rose -- his latest gift --
- A shapeless form she views;
- Its fragrance sped, its beauty fled,
- And vanished all its dews.
- O Mary, maid of San Andreas!
- Too sad was your mistake--
- Yet one, methinks, that wiser folk
- Are very apt to make.
- Who 'twixt these leaves would fix the shapes
- That love and truth assume,
- Will find they keep, like Mary's rose,
- The stain, and not the bloom.
POEMS BY BRET HARTE
"Mary's Album" is reprinted
from The Writings of Bret Harte, Vol. XX. Ed. Charles
Meeker Kozlay. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1914. This poem was
originally published in the Californian, April, 1880.