Poems and Essays

by Joseph Howe




Flowers strew the earth, as stars the sky,
And on them rests the human eye
    With exquisite delight.
Their perfume haunts the air we breathe,
And graceful hands their petals wreathe
    Round fairy forms at night.
The glowing forest’s solemn shade,
    The rugged mountain’s brow—
Where Man, of Nature half afraid
Allured and charmed, but yet dismayed—
Flora with graceful skill can braid
    As only she knows how.

Around the mansions of the great,
    Festooned with artful care:
Lending their sweetness to the weight
    Of fetid city air.
They tempt the lily heads of those
Whose blush might almost shame the rose;
They win the wandering outcast’s gaze
To rural scenes and brighter days,
    And hang like Spirits every where.
Between the gentle and the vile,
    On human pride, and sin, and care,
    On pampered ease, and gaunt despair,
        With equal grace they smile. [Page 142]

Of all that ever smiled on me,
    Three Flowers I still retain;
In an old volume lie the three,
    Crushed, faded, scentless, ne’er again
To court or charm the wanton air;
Unconscious why I keep them there
As is the volume, quaint and old,
Whose leaves their pretty wrecks enfold.

Wrinkled and dusty, old and brown,
Three times a year that book comes down
    And rests upon my knee;
And when with moist and thoughtful face,
I rise to put it in its place,
    I feel as sad as you will be,
When I have shook your tears in showers,
By telling what the faded flowers
    So often tell to me. [Page 143]

Note. This was simply introductory; the intension being to present three flowers as types of three fair woman.