Page images
PDF
EPUB

Such fate to suffering worth is given,
Who long with wants and woes has striv’n,
By human pride or cunning driv'n

To mis'ry's brink,
Till wrench'd of ev'ry stay but Heav'n,

He, ruin'd, sink!
Ev'n thou who mourn'st the Daisy's fate,
That fate is thine—no distant date;
Stern Ruin's ploughshare drives, elate,

Full on thy bloom,
Till, crush'd beneath the furrow's weight,
Shall be thy doom!”

BURNS. ROBERT HERRICK is, in his quaint way, a master of this art :

“ Fair Daffodils, we weep to see

You haste away so soon;
As yet the early rising sun
Has not attain'd his noon.

Stay, stay,
Until the hasting day

Has run
But to the even-song;
And, having pray'd together, we

Will go with you along.

We have short time to stay as you,

We have as short a spring ;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you, or any thing.

We die
As your hours do, and dry

Away,
Like to the summer's rain ;
Or as the pearls of morning's dew,
Ne'er to be found again."

HERRICK.

Flowers and love are naturally associated :

“ Sweet violets, Love's paradise, that spread

Your gracious odours, which you couched bear

Within your palie faces,
Upon the gentle wing of some calm-breathing wind,

That plays amidst the plain,
If by the favour of propitious stars you gain
Such grace as in my ladie's bosom place to find,

Be proud to touch those places !
And when her warmth your moisture forth doth wear,

Whereby her dainty parts are sweetly fed,
Your honours of the flowrie meads I pray,

You pretty daughters of the earth and sun,
With mild and sweetly breathing straight display

My bitter sighs, that have my heart undone !” RALEIGH. Another of “the banished minds," has a love simile for the small flower bursting its "frosty prison :"

“ All as the hungry winter-starved earth,

Where she by nature labours towards her birth,
Still as the day upon the dark world

creeps,
One blossom forth after another peeps,
Till the small flower, whose root is now unbound,
Get from the frosty prison of the ground,
Spreading the leaves unto the powerful noon,
Deck'd in fresh colours, smiles upon
Never udquiet care lodge in that breast
Where but one thought of Rosamond did rest."

DRAYTOX. But there are loftier feelings associated with flowers. Love, in some poetical minds, rises into devotion to the Great Source of all beauty and joy. Never were Spring-flowers the parents of holier thoughts than are found in this

poem

of HERBERT :-
“ How fresh, O Lord, how sweet and clean
Are thy returns ! ev’n as the flow'rs in spring;

To which, besides their own demean,
The late past frosts tributes of pleasure bring.

Grief melts away like snow in May;
As if there were no such cold thing.

the sun.

Who would have thought my shrivel'd heart
Could have recover'd greenness? It was gone

Quite under ground, as flow'rs depart
To see their mother-root, when they have blown;

Where they, together, all the hard weather,
Dead to the world, keep house unknown.

These are thy wonders, Lord of power!
Killing, and quick’ning, bringing down to hell,
And
up

to heaven, in an hour;
Making a chiming of a passing-bell.

We say amiss, 'This, or that, is ;'
Thy word is all; if we could spell.

Oh, that I once past changing were;
Fast in thy Paradise, where no flow'r can wither!

Many a spring I shoot up fair,
Off'ring at heav'n, growing and groaning thither :

Nor doth my flower want a spring show'r ;
My sins and I joining together.

But, while I grow in a straight line
Still upwards bent, as if heav'n were mine own,

Thy anger comes, and I decline.
What frost to that? What pole is not the zone

Where all things burn, when thou dost turn,
And the least frown of thine is shown ?

And now in age I bud again:
After so many deaths I live and write:

I once more smell the dew and rain ;
And relish versing. O my only light,

It cannot be that I am he,
On whom thy tempests fell all night!

These are thy wonders, Lord of love!
To make us see that we are but flow'rs that glide.

Which when we once can find and prove,
Thou hast a garden for us where to bide ;

Who would be more, swelling through store,
Forfeit their Paradise by their pride."

HERBERT.

VOL. I.

R

By the side of our old poet of the English Church may we worthily place the devotional poem on Flowers of a Transatlantic bard :

“Spake full well, in language quaint and olden,

One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine,
When he called 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 so wrapped about with awful mystery,

Like the burning stars which they beheld.
Wonderous truths, and manifold as wonderous,

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 selfsame, universal being,

Which is throbbing in his brain and heart.
Gorgeous flowerets in the sunlight 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 selfsame 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-emblazoned 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 sequestered 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 tomb of heroes, carved in stone;
In the cottage of the rudest peasant,

In ancestral houses, 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.”

LONGFELLOW. Go then into the fields when the snow melts and the earth is unbound. Pry into the hedges for the first Primrose; see if there be a Daisy nestling in the short grass ; look for the little Celandine :

“ Ere a leaf is on the bush,

In the time before the Thrush

« PreviousContinue »