When the sky was rose and golden
On a dewy morn in spring,
Came a dove with eyes of azure,
Golden crest and snowy wing.
And she nestled closely to me,
Laid her head upon my breast,
Folded her white wings, and softly
Sank within my arms to rest.
And the spring days passed unheeded,
And the summer blazed and died;
But I noticed not nor cared not
For the splendor far and wide.
Then the winter settled coldly,
And my dove shook out her wings,
While I felt the fierce sharp anguish
That life’s first dark shadow brings.
Vain my hope and vain my struggles —
O my dove with starry eyes!
Well I know thy snowy pinions
Bore thee safe beyond the skies.
In my garden, in the sunshine,
Bloomed a lovely pearly rose;
Lovely always, but most lovely
At the morn or evening’s close.
Just a tiny, pearly rosebud,
And I fancied, in my pride,
Surely never fairer blossom
Bloomed in all earth’s garden wide.
But one day my rosebud faded,
All its pearly fairness fled;
All day long it drooped still lower,
Lower hung the lovely head.
Day by day I watched it wither,
Day by day I hoped and prayed;
All my hopes and prayers availed not —
To my rose there came no aid.
After nights of anxious watching,
After days of weary care,
Came a hand that drew my rosebud
Up to purer light and air.
Bird and blossom, I am waiting
Till the evening shadows fall;
Till I hear the tones celestial
Through the silver twilight call.
Then, with life’s day safely ended,
Fled all weariness and pain,
I shall find my vanished treasures —
Dove and rosebud — once again.
Bud that blossomed for my pleasure,
Snowy dove with golden crest,
Growing in a fairer garden,
Nestling in a warmer nest.
Agnes Neale, Shadows and Sunbeams, Adelaide: Burden & Bonython, 1890, pages 38-40
azure = the blue of a clear unclouded sky
morn = morning
pinion = a bird’s wing; in more specific usage, the outer section of a bird’s wing; in broader usage, “pinions” refers to the wings of a bird (“pinion” may also refer specifically to a feather, especially a flight feather, or a quill)
Old spelling in the original text: