This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
I PASSED before her garden gate:
She stood among her roses, And stooped a little from the state
In which her pride reposes, To make her flowers a graceful plea For luring and delaying me.
"When summer blossoms fade so soon,"
She said with winning sweetness, "Who does not wear the badge of June
Lacks something of completeness. My garden welcomes you to-day, Come in and gather, while you may."
I entered in: she led me through
A maze of leafy arches, Where velvet-purple pansies grew
Beneath the sighing larches, - A shadowy, still, and cool retreat That gave excuse for lingering feet.
She paused; pulled down a trailing vine;
And twisted round her finger Its starry sprays of jessamine,
As one who seeks to linger. But I smiled lightly in her face, And passed on to the open space.
Passed many a flower-bed fitly set In trim and blooming order,
And plucked at last some mignonette That strayed along the border;
A simple thing that had no bloom,
And but a faint and far perfume.
She wondered why I would not choose
That dreamy amaryllis, - " And could I really, then, refuse
Those heavenly white lilies! And leave ungathered on the slope
This passion-breathing heliotrope? "
She did not know - what need to tell So fair and fine a creature? -
That there was one who loved me well Of widely different nature;
A little maid whose tender youth,
And innocence, and simple truth,
Had won my heart with qualities That far surpassed her beauty,
And held me with unconscious ease Enthralled of love and duty;
Whose modest graces all were met
And symboled in my mignonette.
I passed outside her garden gate, And left her proudly smiling:
Her roses bloomed too late, too late She saw, for my beguiling.
I wore instead - and wear it yet -
The single spray of mignonette.
Its fragrance greets me unaware,
In girlish tresses falling, And little hands so white and fine That timidly creep into mine;
As she - all ignorant of the arts That wiser maids are plying -
Has crept into my heart of hearts Past doubting or denying;
Therein, while suns shall rise and set,
To bloom unchanged, my Mignonette !
"not a bonnet in church but she knows it well."