Edwin Arnold

A Song

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Once -- and only once -- you gave
One rich gift, which Memory
Shuts within itself, to save
Sweet and fresh, while life may be:
Shuts it like a rose-leaf treasured
In the pages of a book,
Which we open, when heart-leisured,
Now and then -- softly to look.

If I told you of that gift
How and when, the tend'ring of it,
Would you, out of rose-leaf thrift,
Claim from me the rend'ring of it?
That might make it two for one
('Twas of such unwonted kind!)
Half a mind I have to tell you
Not to tell you half a mind.

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Edwin Arnold