Do you recall -- I know you do --
A little gift once made to you --
A simple basket filled with flowers,
All favorites of our Southern bowers?
One was a snowy myrtle-bud,
Another blushed as if with blood,
A third was pink of softest tinge,
Then came a disk with purple fringe.
You took them with a happy smile,
And nursed them for a little while,
And once or twice perhaps you thought
Of the fond messages they brought.
And yet you could not then divine
The promise in that gift of mine, --
In those bright blooms and odors sweet,
I laid this volume at your feet.
At yours, my child, who scarcely know
How much to your dear self I owe, --
Too young and innocent as yet
To guess in what consists the debt.
Therefore to you henceforth belong
These Southern asphodels of song,
Less MY creations than your own,
What praise they win are yours alone.
For here no fancy finds a place
But is an affluence of your grace; --
And when my songs are sweetest, then
A Dream like you hath touched my pen.