Riley’s Lyrics

One year comes to an end as another springs to life.

an illustration of a woman holding a rose

Photo: garlandcannon (flickr)

An illustration in Riley's Love Lyrics by James Whitcomb Riley.

James Whitcomb Riley wrote a poem about the old year:

As one in sorrow looks upon
The face of a loyal friend
By the dim light of New Year’s dawn
I saw the old year end
The eyes that had once shed their bright
Sweet looks like sunshine, now were dull
And ever lidded from the light
That made them beautiful

And he wrote about the New Year too:

The chimes of bells were in the air
And sounds of mirth in hall and street,
With pealing laughter every where
And throb of dancing feet.

The stanzas just read were included in Riley’s book of love lyrics published in 1883. This book also includes a number of poems where roses are used to symbolize his beloved. For example, one love poem is entitled “The Rose” and its first stanza is as follows:

It tossed its head at the wooing breeze;
And the sun, like a bashful swain,
Beamed on it, through the waving trees
With a passion all in vain,
For my rose laughed in a crimson glee,
And hid in the leaves in wait for me.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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