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Flowers, the Stars of Earth.
SPAKE full well, in language quaint and olden,
One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine,
When he call'd the flowers, so blue and golden,
Stars, that in earth's firmament do shine.
Stars they are, wherein we read our history,
As astrologers and seers of eld;
Yet not wrapp'd about with awful mystery,
Like the burning stars which they beheld.
Wondrous truths, and manifold as wondrous,
God hath written in those stars above;
But not less in the bright flowerets under us
Stands the revelation of his love.
Bright and glorious is that revelation
Written all over this great world of ours; Making evident our own creation,
In these stars of earth-these golden flowers.
And the Poet, faithful and far-seeing,
Sees, alike in stars and flowers, a part
Of the self-same universal being,
Which is throbbing in his brain and heart.
Gorgeous flowerets in the sun-light shining;
Blossoms flaunting in the eye of day,
Tremulous leaves, with soft and silver lining,
Buds that open only to decay;
Brilliant hopes, all woven in gorgeous tissues,
Flaunting gaily in the golden light;
Large desires, with most uncertain issues;
Tender wishes, blossoming at night!
These in flowers and men are more than seeming;
Workings are they of the self-same powers,
Which the Poet, in no idle dreaming,
Seeth in himself and in the flowers.
Everywhere about us are they glowing,
Some like stars, to tell us Spring is born;
Others, their blue eyes with tears o'erflowing,
Stand like Ruth amid the golden corn;
Not alone in Spring's armorial bearing,
And in Summer's green-emblazon'd field,
But in arms of brave old Autumn's wearing,
In the centre of his brazen shield;
Not alone in meadows and green alleys,
On the mountain-top, and by the brink
Of sequester'd pools in woodland valleys,
Where the slaves of Nature stoop to drink;
Not alone in her vast dome of glory,
Not on graves of bird and beast alone,
But on old Cathedrals, high and hoary,
On the tombs of heroes, carved in stone;
In the cottage of the rudest peasant;
In ancestral homes, whose crumbling towers, Speaking of the Past unto the Present,
Tell us of the ancient Games of Flowers;
In all places, then, and in all seasons,
Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings,
Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons,
How akin they are to human things.
And with child-like credulous affection
We behold their tender buds expand;
Emblems of our own great resurrection,
Emblems of the bright and better land.
THE milk-white blossoms of the thorn
Are waving o'er the pool,
Moved by the wind that breathes along,
So sweetly and so cool.
The hawthorn clusters bloom above,
The primrose hides below,
And on the lonely passer-by
A modest glance doth throw!
Thanksgibing for Flowers.
O FATHER! Lord!
The All-beneficent! I bless thy name,
That thou hast mantled the green earth with flowers,
Linking our hearts to nature! By the love
Of their wild blossoms, our young footsteps first
Into her deep recesses are beguiled-
Her minster cells-dark glen and forest bower,
Where, thrilling with its earliest sense of thee,
Amidst the low, religious whisperings,
The shivery leaf sounds of the solitude,
The spirit wakes to worship, and is made
Thy living temple. By the breath of flowers,
Thou callest us, from city throngs and cares,
Back to the woods, the birds, the mountain-streams,
That sing of thee! back to free childhood's heart,
Fresh with the dews of tenderness! Thou bidd'st
The lilies of the field with placid smile
Reprove man's feverish strivings, and infuse
Through his worn soul a more unworldly life,
With their soft, holy breath. Thou hast not left
His purer nature, with its fine desires,
Uncared for in this universe of thine!
The glowing rose attests it, the beloved
Of poet-hearts, touch'd by their fervent drea
With spiritual light, and made a source
Of heaven-ascending thoughts. E'en to faint age
Thou lend'st the vernal bliss: the old man's eye
Falls on the kindling blossoms, and his soul
Remembers youth and love, and hopefully
Turns unto thee, who call'st earth's buried
From dust to splendour; as the mortal seed
Shall, at thy summons, from the grave spring up
To put on glory, to be girt with power,
And filled with immortality. Receive
Thanks, blessings, love, for these, thy lavish boons,
And, most of all, their heavenward influences,
O thou that gavest us flowers!
Your Voiceless Tips, O Flowers! are Libing Preachers.
YOUR Voiceless lips, O Flowers! are living preachers,
Each cup a pulpit, and each leaf a book,
Supply to my fancy numerous teachers,
In the sweet-scented pictures, Heavenly artist!
With which thou paintest Nature's wide-spread hall,
What a delightful lesson thou impartest
Ephemeral sages! what instructors hoary,
For such a world of thought could furnish scope, Each fading calyx a memento mori,
Posthumous glories! angel-like collection!
Upraised from seed or bulb interr'd in earth,
Ye are to me a type of resurrection,
And second birth!
Were I, O God! in churchless lands remaining,
Far from all voice of teachers or divines,
My soul would find in flowers of thy ordaining,
Priests, sermons, shrines!
YE valleys low, where the mild whispers use
Of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks,
On whose fresh lap the swart star sparely looks,
Throw hither all your quaint enamell'd eyes,
That on the green turf suck the honied showers,
And purple all the ground with vernal flowers.
Bring the rathe primrose that forsaken dies,
The tufted crow-toe, and pale jessamine,
The white pink, and the pansy freak'd with jet,
The glowing violet,
The musk-rose, and the well-attired woodbine,
With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head,
And every flower that sad embroidery wears:
Bid amaranthus all his beauty shed,
And daffodillies fill their cups with tears,
To strew the laureat hearse where Lycid lies.
A SENSITIVE Plant in a garden grew,
And the young winds fed it with silver dew,
And it open'd its fan-like leaves to the light,
And closed them beneath the kisses of night.
And the Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt every where;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
But none ever trembled and panted with bliss
In the garden, the field, or the wilderness,
Like a doe in the noontide with love's sweet want,
As the companionless Sensitive Plant.
The snow-drop, and then the violet,
Arose from the ground with warm rain wet,
And their breath was mix'd with fresh odour, sent
From the turf, like the voice and the instrument.
Then the pied wind-flowers and the tulip tall,
And narcissi, the fairest among them all,
Who gaze on their eyes in the stream's recess,
Till they die of their own dear loveliness;
And the Naiad-like lily of the vale,
Whom youth makes so fair, and passion so pale,
That the light of its tremulous bells is seen
Through their pavilions of tender green;
And the hyacinth purple, and white, and blue,
Which flung from its bells a sweet peal anew
Of music, so delicate, soft, and intense,
It was felt like an odour within the sense;
And the rose like a nymph to the bath addrest,
Which unveil'd the depth of her glowing breast,
Till, fold after fold, to the fainting air
The soul of her beauty and love lay bare;
And the wand-like lily, which lifted up,
As a Mænad, its moonlight-coloured cup,
Till the fiery star, which is its eye,
Gazed through clear dew on the tender sky;