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- The Home Book of Verse, Volume 3 - 40/88 -


A FIELD FLOWER

There is a flower, a little flower With silver crest and golden eye, That welcomes every changing hour, And weathers every sky.

The prouder beauties of the field In gay but quick succession shine; Race after race their honors yield, They flourish and decline.

But this small flower, to Nature dear, While moons and stars their courses run, Wreathes the whole circle of the year, Companion of the Sun.

It smiles upon the lap of May, To sultry August spreads its charms, Lights pale October on his way, And twines December's arms.

The purple heath and golden broom On moory mountains catch the gale; O'er lawns the lily sheds perfume, The violet in the vale.

But this bold floweret climbs the hill, Hides in the forest, haunts the glen, Plays on the margin of the rill, Peeps round the fox's den.

Within the garden's cultured round It shares the sweet carnation's bed; And blooms on consecrated ground In honor of the dead.

The lambkin crops its crimson gem; The wild bee murmurs on its breast; The blue-fly bends its pensile stem Light o'er the skylark's nest.

'Tis Flora's page, - in every place, In every season, fresh and fair; It opens with perennial grace, And blossoms everywhere.

On waste and woodland, rock and plain, Its humble buds unheeded rise; The Rose has but a summer reign; The Daisy never dies!

James Montgomery [1771-1854]

TO DAISIES, NOT TO SHUT SO SOON

Shut not so soon; the dull-eyed night Has not as yet begun To make a seizure on the light, Or to seal up the sun.

No marigolds yet closed are, No shadows great appear; Nor doth the early shepherd's star Shine like a spangle here.

Stay but till my Julia close Her life-begetting eye, And let the whole world then dispose Itself to live or die.

Robert Herrick [1591-1674]

DAISIES

Over the shoulders and slopes of the dune I saw the white daisies go down to the sea, A host in the sunshine, an army in June, The people God sends us to set our heart free.

The bobolinks rallied them up from the dell, The orioles whistled them out of the wood; And all of their saying was, "Earth, it is well!" And all of their dancing was, "Life, thou art good!"

Bliss Carman [1861-1929]

TO THE DAISY

With little here to do or see Of things that in the great world be, Daisy! again I talk to thee, For thou art worthy: Thou unassuming common-place Of Nature, with that homely face, And yet with something of a grace, Which love makes for thee!

Oft on the dappled turf at ease, I sit, and play with similes, Loose types of things through all degrees, Thoughts of thy raising: And many a fond and idle name I give to thee, for praise or blame, As is the humor of the game, While I am gazing.

A nun demure, of lowly port; Or sprightly maiden of love's court, In thy simplicity the sport Of all temptations; A queen in crown of rubies dressed A starveling in a scanty vest; Are all, as seem to suit thee best, Thy appellations.

A little Cyclops, with one eye Staring to threaten and defy - That thought comes next - and instantly The freak is over. The shape will vanish, - and behold! A silver shield with boss of gold, That spreads itself, some fairy bold In fight to cover.

I see thee glittering from afar; - And then thou art a pretty star; Not quite so fair as many are In heaven above thee! Yet like a star, with glittering crest, Self-poised in air, thou seem'st to rest; - May peace come never to his nest Who shall reprove thee!

Bright Flower! for by that name at last, When all my reveries are past, I call thee, and to that cleave fast, Sweet silent creature! That breath'st with me in sun and air, Do thou, as thou art wont, repair My heart with gladness, and a share Of thy meek nature!

William Wordsworth [1770-1850]

TO DAISIES

Ah, drops of gold in whitening flame Burning, we know your lovely name - Daisies, that little children pull! Like all weak things, over the strong Ye do not know your power for wrong, And much abuse your feebleness. Daisies, that little children pull, As ye are weak, be merciful! O hide your eyes! they are to me Beautiful insupportably. Or be but conscious ye are fair, And I your loveliness could bear, But, being fair so without art, Ye vex the silted memories of my heart!

As a pale ghost yearning strays With sundered gaze, 'Mid corporal presences that are To it impalpable - such a bar Sets you more distant than the morning-star. Such wonder is on you, and amaze, I look and marvel if I be Indeed the phantom, or are ye? The light is on your innocence Which fell from me. The fields ye still inhabit whence My world-acquainted treading strays, The country where I did commence; And though ye shine to me so near, So close to gross and visible sense, - Between us lies impassable year on year.

To other time and far-off place Belongs your beauty: silent thus, Though to other naught you tell, To me your ranks are rumorous Of an ancient miracle. Vain does my touch your petals graze, I touch you not; and though ye blossom here, Your roots are fast in alienated days. Ye there are anchored, while Time's stream Has swept me past them: your white ways And infantile delights do seem To look in on me like a face, Dead and sweet, come back through dream, With tears, because for old embrace It has no arms.


The Home Book of Verse, Volume 3 - 40/88

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