The Closed Manuscript
By Constance Finch
“Alas ! that youth’s sweet scented manuscript should close.”
Rubalyat of Omar Khayyam
IN youth’s sweet scented manuscript we wrote,
All through the perfect, rosy summer days,
And when the nightingale’s delicious note
Toned with love’s orison ; in reverent praise
We chronicled our joy with pencilled lays—
In that sweet scented manuscript we wrote.
All night embalmed in rose leaves soft ’twas laid,
Till the pale parchment glowed with rose tints rare,
As fainting lips from which the blood has strayed
Glow when requickened ; and the perfume there
Tinged with its subtle essence all the air—
Since all night long embalmed so soft ’twas laid.
Alas ! we rolled it up one cloudy day,
When the rude winds of autumn ruffled it.
Torn was the leaf whereon no writing lay,
Yellow, it seemed, by no rose radiance lit.
And never more we twain therein have writ
Since it was folded up that cloudy day !
Bury it somewhere, Love, for ever rolled,
(Perchance some leaves shall always sweet remain)
Beneath a rose-tree, in the soft, dark mould,
For this same summer shall not come again.
Oh ! lest we mar it with our tears, our pain—
Bury it somewhere, Love, for ever rolled !
Finch, Constance. “The Closed Manuscript.” The Yellow Book, vol. 11, October 1896, pp. 248-249. Yellow Book Digital Edition, edited by Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2010-2014. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2020. https://1890s.ca/YBV11_finch_closed/