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We see in life's wide wilderness,
Some plants of fair and varied mien;
Love's rose springs here, while there, distress,
The night-shade, rank, is seen.


With choicest care we cull the flowers
That breathe of beauty and of morn;
But while the bouquet charms the eye,
We feel the secret thorn.


And who is free from sorrow's thorn?
Joy's sparkling beverage dost thou sip?
Thou mayst--but soon the poisonous dreg
Shall meet thy quivering lip.


Thy morning, gay, perhaps, hath shone,
And Hope exulting plumed its flight;
At noon, the stern destroyer came,
With disappointment's blight.


Hast friends? thou hast, yet the last sun
That saw thy bliss, hath seen the dart,
Whose cruel fang shall pierce thy friend,
And wring thy lonely heart.


Thy wife, thy offspring--whence that sigh?
Too well I trace the secret tear,
For thou, who wife and offspring knew,
Hast wept upon their bier.


Love hath its chill, and Mirth the sigh,
And who may boast a cloudless morn?
Mortal! that cull'st the flowers of life,
Think not to escape the thorn.