THE POET AND THE FLOWER
Written on hearing from Mrs. Bray that Mr. Southey did not like to pluck flowers.
While Nature wore her vernal wreath,
And violets pour’d their fragrant breath,
Through Flora’s bowers a poet stray’d,
To mark the hues her tribes display’d.
His heart of goodness was possess’d,
And Mercy was his bosom’s guest;
Her dictates all his actions moved,
And even flowers his kindness proved;
Now would he pluck them from the spray,
To cause a premature decay.
A Rose, with pearly dew-drops crown’d,
Was nodding to the gales around;
And thus, while balmy sweets she shed,
Bow’d to the Muse’s child, she said,
“Since Mercy thus displays her powers,
And you show kindness e’en to flowers,
Around your path may Zephyr fling
Our grateful fragrance from his wing!
Pity we claim; short is our stay;
We soon our debt to Nature pay:
And well ’tis known our lovely forms
Fall victims oft to showers and storms;
But we may boast, our rich array
Doth the Creator’s power display.
Creation’s breast we deck with blooms,
And scent the air with sweet perfumes;
But since decay will soon asssail
Our charms, and prove they still are frail,
Poets may learn from us to chide
The boast of vanity and pride.