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Secure from evil eyes and hands
On barbarous plunder bent,
Rest, Mother-bird ! and when thy young
- Take flight, and thou art free to roam,
When withered is the guardian Flower,
And empty thy late home,
Think how ye prospered, thou and thine,
Amid the unviolated grove,
Housed near the growing Primrose-tuft,
In foresight, or in love.
You call it, “ Love-lies-bleeding,” — so you may,
Though the red Flower, not prostrate, only droops,
As we have seen it here from day to day,
From month to month, life passing not away:
A flower how rich in sadness! Even thus stoops,
(Sentient by Grecian sculpture's marvellous power)
Thus leans, with hanging brow and body bent
Earthward in uncomplaining languishment,
The dying Gladiator. So, sad Flower!
('T is Fancy guides me, willing to be led,
Though by a slender thread,)
So drooped Adonis bathed in sanguine dew
Of his death-wound, when he from innocent air
The gentlest breath of resignation drew;
While Venus in a passion of despair
Rent, weeping over him, her golden hair,
Spangled with drops of that celestial shower.
She suffered, as Immortals sometimes do ;
But pangs more lasting far, that Lover knew
Who first, weighed down by scorn, in some lone
Did press this semblance of unpitied smart
Into the service of his constant heart,
His own dejection, downcast Flower! could share
With thine, and gave the mournful name which
thou wilt ever bear.
COMPANION TO THE FOREGOING. NEVER enlivened with the liveliest ray That fosters growth or checks or cheers decay, Nor by the heaviest rain-drops more depressed, This Flower, that first appeared as Summer's guest, Preserves her beauty ’mid autumnal leaves And to her mournful habits fondly cleaves. When files of stateliest plants have ceased to bloom, One after one submitting to their doom,
When her coevals each and all are fled,
What keeps her thus reclined upon her lonesome
The old mythologists, more impressed than we
Of this late day by character in tree
Or herb, that claimed peculiar sympathy,
Or by the silent lapse of fountain clear,
Or with the language of the viewless air
By bird or beast made vocal, sought a cause
To solve the mystery, not in Nature's laws,
But in Man's fortunes. Hence a thousand tales
Sung to the plaintive lyre in Grecian vales.
Nor doubt that something of their spirit swayed
The fancy-stricken Youth or heart-sick Maid,
Who, while each stood companionless, and eyed
This undeparting Flower in crimson dyed,
Thought of a wound which death is slow to cure,
A fate that has endured and will endure,
And, patience coveting yet passion feeding,
Called the dejected Lingerer, Love-lies-Bleeding.
SYLPH was it? or a Bird more bright
Than those of fabulous stock ?
A second darted by; — and lo!
Another of the flock,
Through sunshine flitting from the bough
To nestle in the rock.
Transient deception ! a gay freak
Of April's mimicries !
Those brilliant strangers, hailed with joy
Among the budding trees,
Proved last year's leaves, pushed from the spray
To frolic on the breeze.
Maternal Flora ! show thy face,
And let thy hand be seen,
Thy hand here sprinkling tiny flowers,
That, as they touch the green,
Take root (so seems it), and look up
In honor of their Queen.
Yet, sooth, those little starry specks,
That not in vain aspired
To be confounded with live growths,
Most dainty, most admired,
Were only blossoms dropped from twigs
Of their own offspring tired.
Not such the World's illusive shows;
Her wingless flutterings,
Her blossoms, which, though shed, outbrave
The floweret as it springs,
For the undeceived, smile as they may,
Are melancholy things :
But gentle Nature plays her part
With ever-varying wiles,
And transient feignings with plain truth
So well she reconciles,
That those fond Idlers most are pleased
Whom oftenest she beguiles.
That way look, my Infant, lo!
What a pretty baby-show!
See the Kitten on the wall,
Sporting with the leaves that fall,
Withered leaves,-one, two, and three,-
From the lofty elder-tree !
Through the calm and frosty air
Of this morning bright and fair,
Eddying round and round, they sink
Softly, slowly: one might think,
From the motions that are made,
Every little leaf conveyed
Sylph or Faery hither tending, —
To this lower world descending,
Each invisible and mute,
In his wavering parachute.
- But the Kitten, how she starts,
Crouches, stretches, paws, and darts !