Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
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Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
 
Flowers
By Henry Pickering (1781–1838)
 
        “La vue d’une fleur caresse mon imagination et flatte mes sens a un point inexprimable: elle reveille avec volupte le sentiment de mon existence.”
Mad. Roland.    

            THE IMPATIENT morn,
With gladness on his wings, calls forth “Arise!
To trace the hills, the vales, where thousand dyes
            The ground adorn,
While the dew sparkles yet within the violet’s eyes:”        5
 
            And when the day
In golden slumber sinks, with accent sweet
Mild evening comes to lure the willing feet
            With her to stray,
Where’er the bashful flowers the observant eye may greet.        10
 
            Near the moist brink
Of music-loving streams they ever keep,
And often in the lucid fountains peep;
            Oft, laughing, drink
Of the mad torrent’s spray, perch’d near the thundering steep:        15
 
            And everywhere
Along the plashy marge, and shallow bed
Of the still waters, they innumerous spread;
            Rock’d gently there
The beautiful Nymphæa 1 pillows its bright head.        20
 
            Within the dell,
Within the rocky clefts they love to hide;
And hang adventurous on the steep hill-side;
            Or rugged fell,
Where the young eagle waves his wings in youthful pride.        25
 
            In the green sea
Of forest leaves, where nature wanton plays,
They modest bloom; though through the verdant maze
            The tulip-tree
Its golden chalice oft triumphantly displays:        30
 
            And, of pure white,
Embedded ’mid its glossy leaves on high,
There the superb Magnolia lures the eye;
            While, waving light,
The locust’s myriad tassels scent the ambient sky.        35
 
            But O, ye bowers,—
Ye valleys where the spring perpetual reigns,
And flowers unnumber’d o’er the purple plains
            Exuberant showers,—
How fancy revels in your lovelier domains!        40
 
            All love the light;
And yet what numbers spring within the shade,
And blossom where no foot may e’er invade;
            Till comes a blight,—
Comes unaware,—and then incontinent they fade!        45
 
            And thus they bloom,
And thus their lives ambrosial breathe away;
Thus flourish too the lovely and the gay:
            And the same doom
Youth, beauty, flower, alike consigns to swift decay.        50
 
Note 1. The white-pond lily. [back]
 
 
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