To a very young lady who sent me a kiss.
Thousand thanks, my sweet girl, for the kiss that you sent!
And ten thousand times more for your heart's kind intent!
But, ah me! like a blossom too tender to last,
Ere it reach'd me, the freshness and fragrance were past.
There are kisses, 'tis true, may be sent where you choose;
But 'tis only because they've no sweetness to lose.
There are fruits which endure the approach of decay;
But the true zest of nature breathes fresh from the spray.
There are flowers, deep-tinted and rich of perfume,
That, when gather'd, awhile may continue to bloom;
But the flowrets of morn, breathing soft thro' the dew,
Lose their charms soon as pluck'd from the stem where they grew.
There are wines of a spirit so rich and so sound,
They improve to the taste as they go the world round;
While the exquisite flavor of some is so faint
That the vessel containing them oft gives a taint.
Then, believe me, whenever your gifts you would send,
Never trust them in charge of the faithfulest friend;
For their worth can be told and their sweetness made known
By no substitute's [h]and, by no lips but your own.
Museum of the City of New York|
Poetry Manuscript Book of Clement C. Moore
Accession Number: 54.331.1 (7662)