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The man who roams by wild-flower'd ditch or hedge
Skirting the mead, Or treads the cornfield path-along its edge,
May mark a weed,
Whose ragged scarlet gear might well denote
A road-side beggar in a soldier's coat.
Hence! terms misplaced, and thoughts disparaging!
O Poppy Flower!
Thou art the Cræsus of the field-its king
A mystic power,
With emblems deep and secret blessings fraught,
And potent properties that baffle thought.
When thy hues catch, amid the growing corn?
The traveller's eye,
“ Weeds! weeds!” he cries, and shakes his head in scorn:
But when on high
The grain uplifts its harvest-bearing crest,
The Poppy's hidden, and the taunt suppress'd.
So, when our early state is poor and mean,
Our portion small,
Our scarlet-blushing moral weeds are seen,
And blamed by all;
But as we rise in rank we win repute,
Our faults gold-hidden, our accusers mute.
Why does the Poppy with its chaliced store
Of opiate rare, *
Flush in the fields, and grace the hovel door,
But to declare
That, from the City's palaces forlorn,
Sleep flies to bless the cottage in the corn?
* The opium is principally extracted from the white poppy.
And Oh! how precious is the Anodyne
Its cells exude,
Charming the mind's disquietude malign
To peaceful mood,
Soothing the body's anguish with its balm,
Lulling the restless into slumbers calm.
What tho' the reckless suicide-oppress'd
By fell despair,
Turns to a poison-cup thy chalice, bless'd
With gifts so rare ;
And basely flying, while the brave remain,
Deserts the post God gave him to maintain.
Such art perverted does but more enhance
That higher power,
Which, planting by the corn-(man's sustenance,)
The Poppy flower,
Both in one soil, one atmosphere their breath,
Rears, side by side, the means of life and death!
Who, who can mark thee, Poppy, when the air
Fans thy lips bright,
Nor move his own in sympathetic prayer
To Him whose might
Combined the powers-0 thought-bewildering deed!
Of death-sleep-health-oblivion--in a weed!
I PAUSED not to question the Devil's suggestion,
But o'er the cliff, headlong, the living was thrown; A scream and a plashing, a foam and a flashing,
And the smothering water accomplish'd his slaughter,
All was silent, and I was alone!
With heart-thrilling spasm I leant o'er the chasm;
There was blood on the wave that closed o'er his head,
And in bubbles his breath, as he struggled with death,
Rose up to the surface. I shudder'd and fled.