William Struthers

The Rejected Japanese Lover (1887)

Where golden-red the lush persimmon grows,
Where dusk-green sway the pine-boughs dreamfully,
I choose, my love, I choose a night for thee,
With fervent vows, a fragrant-petaled rose—
White as camellias of the isle, whence blows
A spice-wind o’er the blissful, deep-blue sea,
And where the long-necked storks feed, tempest free,
On sweet palm-buds or ebon-glossy sloes!
I place it ’neath thy porch within a vase,
To tell, love, how my heart for thee beats true,
And of thy heart to beg a tender grace,
When, wistfully, at dawn I pass thy door.
Yet what see I, there, dying in the dew?
My rose, outcast, that whispers—“Hope no more!”



Struthers’ note:

In Japan it is etiquette for a lover to select some choice plant and place it, at night, in a vase or flower-pot that hangs suspended by three slender chains from the veranda of such dwellings as possess one or more marriageable daughters. Should his suit be favoured, the floral gift is watered and carefully tended; but if, on the contrary, his advances are coldly received by the maiden, or if her kinsfolk object to the alliance, the plant is found withered and forsaken in the garden-walk the following morning.

‘The Rejected Japanese Lover’ appeared in the New York-based Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine 34.3 (July 1887), p. 412.

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