The Rose and the Fern

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The Rose and the Fern  (1890) 
by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

From Over the Teacups

Lady, life's sweetest lesson wouldst thou learn,
  Come thou with me to Love's enchanted bower;
High overhead the trellised roses burn;
Beneath thy feet behold the feathery fern,—
  A leaf without a flower.

What though the rose leaves fall? They still are sweet,
  And have been lovely in their beauteous prime,
While the bare frond seems ever to repeat,
"For us no bud, no blossom, wakes to greet
  The joyous flowering time!"

Heed thou the lesson. Life has leaves to tread
  And flowers to cherish; summer round thee glows;
Wait not till autumn's fading robes are shed,
But while its petals still are burning red
  Gather life's full-blown rose!

This work was published before January 1, 1927, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.