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PANSIES, lilies, kingcups, daisies,
Let them live upon their praises ;
Long as there's a sun that sets,
Primroses will have their glory;
Long as there are violets,
They will have a place in story ;
There's a flower that shall be mine,
'Tis the little Celandine.
Eyes of some men travel far
For the finding of a star ;
Up and down the heavens they go,
Men that keep a mighty rout !
I'm as great as they, I trow,
Since the day I found thee out,
Little flower !--I'll make a stir
Like a great astronomer.
Modest, yet withal an elf
Bold, and lavish of thyself;
Since we needs must first have met
I have seen thee, high and low,
Thirty years or more, and yet
'Twas a face I did not know ;
Thou hast now, go where I may,
Fifty greetings in a day.
Ere a leaf is on a bush,
In the time before the thrush
Has a thought about its nest,
Thou wilt come with half a call,
Spreading out thy glossy breast
Like a careless prodigal ;
Telling tales about the sun,
When we've little warmth, or none.
Poets, vain men in their mood !
Travel with the multitude :
Never heed them; I aver
That they all are wanton wooers;
But the thrifty cottager,
Who stirs little out of doors,
Joys to spy thee near her home :
Spring is coming—thou art come!
Comfort have thou of thy merit,
Kindly, unassuming spirit !
Careless of thy neighbourhood,
Thou dost show thy pleasant face
On the moor, and in the wood,
In the land-there's not a place,
Howsoever mean it be,
But 'tis good enough for thee.
III befall the yellow-flowers,
Children of the flaring hours !
Buttercups that will be seen
Whether we will see or no ;
Others, too, of lofty mien ;
They have done as worldlings do, Taking praise that should be thine, Little, humble Celandine !
Prophet of delight and mirth,
Scorned and slighted upon earth !
Herald of a mighty band,
Of a joyous train ensuing,
Singing at my heart's command,
In the lanes my thoughts pursuing,
I will sing, as doth behove,
Hymns in praise of what I love !
PLEASURES newly found are sweet
When they lie about our feet ;
February last, my heart
First at sight of thee was glad ;
All unheard of as thou art,
Thou must needs, I think, have had
Celandine! and long ago,
Praise of which I nothing know.
I have not a doubt but he,
Whosoe'er the man may be,
Who the first with pointed rays
(Workman worthy to be sainted)
Set the sign-board in a blaze,
When the risen sun he painted,
Took the fancy from a glance
At thy glittering countenance.
Soon as gentle breezes bring
News of winter's vanishing,
And the children build their bowers,
Sticking 'kerchief-pots of mould
All about with full-blown flowers,
Thick as sheep in shepherd's fold !
With the proudest thou art there,
Mantling in the tiny square.
Often have I sighed to measure
By myself a lonely pleasure,
Sighed to think I read a book
Only read, perhaps, by me ;
Yet I long could overlook
Thy bright coronet and thee,
And thy arch and wily ways,
And thy store of other praise.
Blithe of heart, from week to week
Thou dost play at hide-and-seek ;
While the patient primrose sits
Like a beggar in the cold,
Thou, a flower of wiser wits,
Slipp'st into thy shelter'd hold;
Bright as any of the train
When ye all are out
Thou art not beyond the moon,
But a thing “beneath our shoon;"
Let, as old Magellan did,
Others roam about the sea ;
Build who will a pyramid ;
Praise it is enough for me,
If there be but three or four
Who will love my little flower.