William Cowper


[Written June, 1783. Published in The Gentleman's Magazine,
    June, 1785; afterwards in 1795. A MS copy is in the British

The rose had been wash'd, just wash'd in a shower,
    Which Mary to Anna convey'd,
The plentiful moisture incumber'd the flower,
    And weigh'd down its beautiful head.

The cup was all fill'd, and the leaves were all wet,
    And it seem'd to a fanciful view,
To weep for the buds it had left with regret,
    On the flourishing bush where it grew.

I hastily seiz'd it, unfit as it was,
    For a nosegay, so dripping and drown'd,
And swinging it rudely, too rudely, alas!
    I snapp'd it, it fell to the ground.

And such, I exclaim'd, is the pitiless part
    Some act by the delicate mind,
Regardless of wringing and breaking a heart
    Already to sorrow resign'd.

This elegant rose, had I shaken it less,
    Might have bloom'd with its owner awhile,
And the tear that is wip'd with a little address,
    May be follow'd perhaps by a smile.



The Complete Poetical Works of William Cowper.
H. S. Milford, ed.
London: Henry Frowde, 1905. 355.


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