BETA

Field Flowers.

Ye who courtly beauty prize,1
Cast not here your scornful eyes2
Nature’s lowly children we,3
Bred on bank, in brake, on lea4
By the meadow runlet’s brink,5
In the tall cliffs craggy chink ;6
On the sea-shore’s arid shingle,7
On bleak moor, in bosky dingle ;8
On old tower and ruin’d wall,9
By the sparkling waterfall.10
Not a hue of gaudier glow,11
Not a streak to art we owe :12
Never hand but nature’s own,13
( “ Nature’s sweet and cunning one,”)14
Hath imparted charm or grace15
To our unaspiring race.16
All her elements of might,17
Common air, and common light ; —18
Shower and sunshine, mist and dew,19
And his labourers, (blithe ones too ! )20
All unhired for love she finds,21
Bees, and birds, and wandering winds.22
Courtly scorners ! not for ye23
Bloom our tribes of low degree.24
Stately Aloe, Tuberose tall,25
Finely decks baronial hall ;26
Flaunting in exotic pride,27
(Sculptured nymph or fawn beside,)28
From marble vase on terrace wide29
Where jewell’d robes sweep rustling
by,
30
And lordly idlers lounge and sigh31
There intrude not such as we,32
Commoners of low degree.33
Yet have we our lovers too,34
Hearts to holy nature true,35
Such as find in all her ways36
Objects for delight and praise,37
From the Cedar, straight and tall,38
To the Hyssop on the wall.39
Favour’d mortals ! to your eyes40
All unveil’d an Eden lies41
Hidden from the worldlings view.42
Wells of water gush for you,43
Where his sealed sight can spy44
Nought but dull aridity.45
Hither come—to you we’ll tell46
Where our sweetest sisters dwell ;47
Show you every secret cell48
Where the coy take sanctuary,49
Pale maids that unmarried die.”50
Primroses ; and paler yet51
Th’ unstain’d, odorous Violet.52
Hither come, and you shall see53
Where the loveliest Lilies be ;54
They through forest vistas gleaming,55
(Azure clouds of heaven’s own seem-
ing
)—
56
They, their snowy heads that hide57
Cowering by the coppice side ;58
They that stand in nodding ranks59
All along the river’s banks,60
Golden Daffodils : and they61
(Brightest of the bright array ! )62
With a swan-like grace that glide,63
Anchor’d on the waveless tide.64
These, and flowery myriads more,65
All their charms (a countless store),66
All their sweets shall yield to thee,67
Nature’s faithful votary.68
Though we grace not lordly halls,69
Yet, on rustic festivals,70
Who than we are fitlier seen71
Flaunting o’er the village green ?72
Many a ‘kerchief deck we there,73
Many a maiden’s nut-brown hair ;74
Many a straw-hat, plaited neat75
By shepherd boy, we make complete76
With Cowslip cark’net. Then, to see77
With what an air, how jauntily,78
On his curl’d pate ‘tis stuck awry79
To snare some cottage beauty’s eye.80
Joyous childhood, roving free,81
With our sweet Bells greedily82
Both his chubby hands doth fill ;83
Welcome plunderer ! pluck at will.84
Nature’s darling ! dear to thee,85
More than costlier sweets are we :86
Pluck at will, enough to deck,87
Boy ! thy favourite lambkin’s neck.88
Pineth some pale wretch away89
In prison cell, where cheerful day90
Only through the deep-set bars91
Beams obliquely ; and the stars92
Scarce can glance a pitying eye93
On the poor soul’s misery ;94
Haply on some lodgment nigh,95
Mossy bastion’s mouldering edge,96
Loophole chink, or grating ledge,97
One of us (some fragrant thing)98
Taketh stand, and thence doth fling99
On the kind air soft perfume100
Down to that dark prison-room101
Entering, with the balmy gale,102
Thoughts of some dear native vale,103
Some sweet home by mountain stream,104
On the captive’s soul may gleam ;105
Wafting him in fondest dream106
To the grass plat far away,107
Where his little children play.108
On the poor man’s grave we’re found,109
Honouring the unhonour’d ground.110
To the grave—the grave for aye,111
Reverential dues we pay.112
When all thought hath pass’d away113
From all living, long ago114
Of the dust that sleeps below : —115
From the sunken hillock gone,116
E’en the cold memorial stone ; —117
Unforsaking, we alone,118
Year by year, fresh tribute spread119
O’er the long-forgotten dead.120