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The Last Chrysanthemum

 Why should this flower delay so long 
 To show its tremulous plumes? 
Now is the time of plaintive robin-song, 
 When flowers are in their tombs.
Through the slow summer, when the sun Called to each frond and whorl That all he could for flowers was being done, Why did it not uncurl? It must have felt that fervid call Although it took no heed, Waking but now, when leaves like corpses fall, And saps all retrocede.
Too late its beauty, lonely thing, The season's shine is spent, Nothing remains for it but shivering In tempests turbulent.
Had it a reason for delay, Dreaming in witlessness That for a bloom so delicately gay Winter would stay its stress? - I talk as if the thing were born With sense to work its mind; Yet it is but one mask of many worn By the Great Face behind.

Poem by Thomas Hardy
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