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LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS.
BY H. W. LONGFELLOW.
Spake full well, in language quaint and olden,
One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine, When he called the flowers so blue and golden,
Stars, that in earth's firmament do shine.
Stars they are, wherein we read our history,
As astrologers and seers of eld;
Like the burning stars, which they beheld.
Wondrous truths, and manifold as wondrous,
God hath written in those stars above;
Stands the revelation of his love.
Bright and glorious is that revelation,
Written all over this great world of ours; Making evident our own creation,
In these stars of earth,-these golden flowers.
And the Poet, faithful and far-seeing,
Sees alike in stars and flowers, a pari Of the self-same, universal Being,
Which is throbbing in his brain and heart.
Gorgeous flowerets in the sunlight shining,
Blossoms flaunting in the eye of day, Tremulous leaves, with soft and silver lining,
Buds that open only to decay;
Brilliant hopes, all woven in gorgeous tissues,
Flaunting gaily in the golden light; Large desires, with most uncertain issues,
Tender wishes, blossoming at night!
These in flowers and men are more than seeming
Workings are they of the self-same powers, Which the poet, in no idle dreaming,
Seeth in himself and in the flowers.
Every where about us are they glowing,
Some like stars, to tell us Spring is born; Others, their blue eyes with tears o'erflowing,
Stand like Ruth amid the golden corn;
Not alone in Spring's armorial bearing,
And in Summer's green-emblazoned field, But in arms of brave old Autumn's wearing,
In the centre of his brazen shield;
Not alone in meadows and green alleys,
On the mountain-top, and by the brink Of sequestered pools in woodland valleys,
Where the slaves of Nature stoop to drink:
Not alone in her vast dome of glory,
Not on graves of bird and beast alone, But in old cathedrals, high and hoary,
On the tombs of heroes, carved in stone;
In the cottage of the rudest peasant,
In ancestral homes, whose crumbling towers, Speaking of the Past unto the Present,
Tell us of the ancient Games of Flowers;
In all places, then, and in all seasons,
Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings, Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons,
How akin they are to human things.
And with child-like, credulous affection,
We behold their tender buds expand ;Emblems of our own great resurrection,
Emblems of the bright and better land.
THE STAR AND THE WATER-LILY.
BY 0. W. HOLMES.
The Sun stepp'd down from his golden throne,
And lay in the silent sea,
For a sleepy thing was she ;
Why crisp the waters blue ?
Her white leaves are glistening through!
The Rose is cooling his burning cheek
In the lap of the breathless tide ; The Lily hath sisters fresh and fair,
That would lie by the Rose's side; He would love her better than all the rest,
And he would be fond and true; But the Lily unfolded her weary lids,
And look'd at the sky so blue.
Remember, remember, thou silly one,
How fast will thy summer glide, And wilt thou wither a virgin pale,
Or flourish a blooming bride ? “0, the Rose is old, and thorny, and cold,
And he lives on earth," said she; " But the Star is fair and he lives in the air,
And he shall my bridegroom be."
But what if the stormy cloud should come,
And ruffle the silver sea ?
To smile on a thing like thee? 0, no! fair Lily, he will not send
One ray from his far-off throne; The winds shall blow and the waves shall flow,
And thou wilt be left alone.
There is not a leaf on the mountain-top,
Nor a drop of evening dew,
Nor a pearl in the waters blue,
And warm'd with his faithless beam,And will he be true to a pallid flower,
That floats on the quiet stream?
Alas, for the Lily! she would not heed,
But turn'd to the skies afar,
That shot from the rising star;
And over the waters wide ;
And sank in the stormy tide.