Wednesday, March 06, 2013

A Withered Rose by St. Therese


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
(*St. Therese was dying when she wrote this. Her earthly life ended in September 1897)­


Old Bob said...

Wow. Thanks!

Restore-DC-Catholicism said...

She probably wrote in French - so how does it rhyme in English?

Dymphna said...

No idea. Translation is an art.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Sometimes a little twist here and there of order of words or a wise choice of synonyms can replace an original rhyme with a rhyme in translation.