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Jesus, when Thou didst leave Thy Mother’s fond embrace,

Let go her hand;

And first, on our hard earth, Thy little foot didst place,

And trembling stand;

Within Thy pathway, then fresh rose-leaves would I spread, —

Their Maker’s dower, —

That so Thy tiny feet might very softly tread

Upon a flower.

These scattered rose-leaves form true image of a soul,

O Child most dear!

That longs to immolate itself, complete and whole,

Each moment here.

On Thy blest altars, Lord, fresh roses fain would shine,

Radiant, near Thee;

They gladly give themselves. Another dream is mine, —

To fade for Thee!

How gaily decks Thy feasts, dear Child, a rose new­blown,

Fragrant and fair!

But withered roses are forgot, — the wild winds’ own, —

Cast anywhere.

Their scattered leaves seek now no earthly joy or pelf;

For self, no gain.

Ah, little Jesus! so, I give Thee all! Of self,

Let naught remain.

These roses trampled lie beneath the passer’s tread,

Unmarked, unknown.

I comprehend their lot; — these leaves, though pale and dead,

Are still Thine own.

For Thee they die; as I my time, my life, my all

Have spent for Thee.

Men think a fading rose am I, whose leaves must fall

At death’s decree.

For Thee I die, for Thee, Jesus, Thou Fairest Fair! —

Joy beyond telling! —

Thus, fading, would I prove my love beyond compare,

All bliss excelling.

Beneath Thy feet, Thy way to smooth, through life’s long night,

My heart would lie;

And softening Thy hard path up Calvary’s awful height,

I thus would die.

May, 1897­

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