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about forty yards distant from him; and, when I had nearly reached the spot, he swam to land, with a lily in his mouth, which he came and laid at my feet.”
W. Cowper to Lady Hesketh, June 27th, 1788.
We are the sweet flowers,
Born of sunny showers,
(Think, whene'er you see us, what our beauty saith ;)
Utterance, mute and bright,
Of some unknown delight,
We fill the air with pleasure, hy our simple breath :
All who see us love us
We befit all places :
Unto sorrow we give smiles-and unto graces, races
Mark our ways, how noiseless
All, and sweetly voiceless,
Though the March-winds pipe, to make our passage clear;
Not a whisper tells
Where our small seed dwells,
Nor is known the moment green, when our tips appear.
We thread the earth in silence,
In silence build our bowers-
And leaf by leaf in silence show, till we laugh a-top, sweet flowers.
The dear lumpish baby,
Humming with the May-bee,
Hails us with his bright star, stumbling through the grass ;
The honey-dropping moon,
On a night in June,
Kisses our pale pathway leaves, that felt the bridegroom pass.
Age, the wither'd clinger,
On us mutely gazes,
And wraps the thought of his last bed in his childhood's daisies.
See (and scorn all duller
Taste) how heav'n loves color;
How great Nature, clearly, joys in red and green;
What sweet thoughts she thinks
Of violets and pinks,
And a thousand flushing hues, made solely to be seen :
See her whitest lilies
Chill the silver showers,
And what a red mouth is her rose, the woman of her flowers.
Of a use the finest,
Painteth us, the teachers of the end of use;
Travelers, weary eyed,
Bless us, far and wide ; l'nto sick and prison'd thoughts we give sudden truce :
Not a poor town window
Loves its sickliest planting,
But its wall speaks loftier truth than Babylonian vaunting.
Sagest yet the uses,
Mix'd with our sweet juices,
Whether man or May-fly, profit of the balm,
As fair fingers heal'd
Knights from the olden field
We hold cups of mightiest force to give the wildust calm.
Ev’n the terror, poison,
Hath its plea for blooming ;
Life it gives to reverent lips, though death to the presuming.
And oh ! our sweet soul-taker,
That thief, the honey maker,
What a house hath he, by the thymy glen!
In his talking rooms
How the feasting fumes,
Till the gold cups overflow to the mouths of men !
The butterflies come aping
Those fine thieves of ours, And flutter round our rifled tops, like tickled fiowers with flowers.
See those tops, how beauteous !
What fair service duteous
Round some idol waits, as on their lord the Nine
Elfin court 'twould seem ;
And taught, perchance, that dream
Which the old Greek mountain dreamt, upon nights divine.
To expound such wonder
Human speech avails not ;
Yet there dies no poorest weed, that such a glory exhales not.
Think of all these treasures,
Matchless works and pleasures,
Every one a marvel, more than thought can say ;
Then think in what bright showers
We thicken fields and bowers,
And with what heaps of sweetness half stifle wanton May :
Think of the mossy forests
By the bee-birds haunted,
And all those Amazonian plains, lone lying as enchanted.
Trees themselves are ours;
Fruits are born of flowers;
Peach, and roughest nut, were blossoms in the spring ;
The lusty bee knows well
The news, and comes pell-mell,
And dances in the gloomy thicks with darksome antheming.
Beneath the very burden
Of planet-pressing ocean, We wash our smiling cheeks in peace-a thought for meek devotion.
Tears of Phoebus—missings
Of Cytherea's kissings,
Have in us been found, and wise men find them still ;
Drooping grace unfurls
Still Hyacinthus' curls,
And Narcissus loves himself in the selfish rill:
Thy red lip, Adonis,
Still is wet with morning ;
And the step, that bled for thee, the rosy brier adorning.
0! true things are fables,
Fit for sagest tables,
And the flowers are true things-yet no fables they ;
Fables were not more
Bright, nor loved of yore-
Yet they grew not, like the flowers, by every old pathway :
Grossest hand can test us ;
Fools may prize us never :
Yet we rise, and rise, and rise-marvels sweet for ever.
Who shall say, that flowers
Dress not heaven's own bowers ?
Who its love, without us, can fancy-or sweet floor ?
Who shall even dare
To say, we sprang not there-
And came not down that Love might bring one piece of heaven the
0! pray believe that angels
From those blue dominions,
Brought us in their white laps down, 'twixt their golden pinions.
Meek dwellers ’mid yon terror-stricken cliffs !
With brows so pure, and incense-breathing lips,
Whence are ye? Did some white-winged messenger
On mercy's missions trust your timid germ
To the cold cradle of eternal snows?
Or, breathing on the callous icicles,
Bid them with tear-drops nurse ye?
-Tree nor shrub
Dare that drear atmosphere; no polar pine
Uprears a veteran front; yet there ye stand,
Leaning your cheeks against the thick-ribb’d ice,
And looking up with brilliant eyes to Him
Who bids you bloom unblanch'd amid the waste
Of desolation. Man, who, panting, toils
O’er slippery steeps, or, trembling, treads the verge
Of yawning gulfs, o’er which the headlong plunge
Is to eternity, looks shuddering up,
And marks ye in your placid loveliness-
Fearless, yet frail—and, clasping his still hands,
Blesses your pencild beauty. 'Mid the pomp
Of mountain summits rushing on the sky,
And chaining the rapt soul in breathless awe,
He bows to bind you drooping to his breast,
Inhales your spirit from the frost-wing'd gale
And freer breathes of heaven.
LYDIA H. SIGOURNEY.
Thy fruit full well the schoolboy knows,
Wild bramble of the brake!
So, put thou forth thy small white rose ;
I love it for his sake.
Though woodbines flaunt and roses glow
O'er all the fragrant bowers,
Thou need'st not be ashamed to show
Thy satin-threaded flowers;
For dull the eye, the heart is dull
That can not feel how fair,
Amid all beauty, beautiful
Thy tender blossoms are !
How delicate thy gauzy frill!
How rich thy branchy steni !
How soft thy voice, when woods are still,
And thou sing st hymns to them!
While silent showers are falling slow,
And, 'mid the general hush,
A sweet air lifts the little bough,
Lone whispering through the bush !
The primrose to the grave is gone ;
The hawthorn flower is dead;
The violet by the moss'd gray stone
Hath laid her weary head;
But thou, wild bramble! back dost bring,
In all their beauteous power,
The fresh green days of life's fair spring,
And boyhood's blossomy hour.
Scorn'd bramble of the brake! once more
Thou bidd'st me be a boy,
To rove with thee the woodlands o'er,
In freedom and in joy.
The fresh savannas of the Sagamon,
Here rise in gentle swells, and the long grass
Is mixed with rustling hazels. Scarlet tufts
Are glowing in the green, like flakes of fire ;
The wanderers of the prairie know them well,
And call that brilliant flower the Painted Cup.
Now, if thou art a poet, tell me not
That these bright chalices were tinted thus
To hold the dew for fairies, when they meet
On moonlight evenings in the hazel bowers,
And dance till they are thirsty. Call not up,
Amid this fresh and virgin solitude
The faded fancies of an elder world ;
But leave these scarlet cups to spotted moths
Of June, and glistening flies, and humming-birds,
To drink from, when on all these boundless lawns
The morning sun looks hot. Or let the wind
O'erturn in sport their ruddy brims, and pour
A sudden shower upon the strawberry plant,