Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
Occasional Poems
A hymn for the American Horticultural Society, 1882

O PAINTER of the fruits and flowers,
  We own Thy wise design,
Whereby these human hands of ours
  May share the work of Thine!
Apart from Thee we plant in vain        5
  The root and sow the seed;
Thy early and Thy later rain,
  Thy sun and dew we need.
Our toil is sweet with thankfulness,
  Our burden is our boon;        10
The curse of Earth’s gray morning is
  The blessing of its noon.
Why search the wide world everywhere
  For Eden’s unknown ground?
That garden of the primal pair        15
  May nevermore be found.
But, blest by Thee, our patient toil
  May right the ancient wrong,
And give to every clime and soil
  The beauty lost so long.        20
Our homestead flowers and fruited trees
  May Eden’s orchard shame;
We taste the tempting sweets of these
  Like Eve, without her blame.
And, North and South and East and West,        25
  The pride of every zone,
The fairest, rarest, and the best
  May all be made our own.
Its earliest shrines the young world sought
  In hill-groves and in bowers,        30
The fittest offerings thither brought
  Were Thy own fruits and flowers.
And still with reverent hands we cull
  Thy gifts each year renewed;
The good is always beautiful,        35
  The beautiful is good.

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