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Children, when you go to play,
Look beneath the hedge to-day:-
Mamma likes violets.
WILLIAM W. STORY.
O faint, delicious, springtime violet!
Thine odor, like a key,
Turns noiselessly in memory's wards to let
A thought of sorrow free.
The breath of distant fields upon my brow
Blows through that open door
The sound of wind-borne bells, more sweet and
And sadder than of yore.
It comes afar, from that beloved place,
And that beloved hour,
When life hung ripening in love's golden grace,
Like grapes above a bower.
A spring goes singing through its reedy grass; The lark sings o'er my head,
Drowned in the sky—O, pass, ye visions, pass! I would that I were dead!—
Why hast thou opened that forbidden door,
From which I ever flee?
O vanished joy! O love, that art no more,
Elet my vexed spirit be!
O violet! thy odor through my brain
Hath searched, and stung to grief
This sunny day, as if a curse did stain
Thy velvet leaf.
When fancy will continually rehearse
Some painful scene once present to the eye,
'Tis well to mould it into gentle verse,
That it may lighter on the spirit lie.
Home yestern eve I wearily returned,
Though bright my morning mood and short my
But sad experience, in one moment earned,
Can crush the heaped enjoyments of the day.
Passing the corner of a populous street,
I marked a girl whose wont it was to stand,
With pallid cheek, torn gown, and naked feet,
And bunches of fresh violets in each hand.
There her small commerce, in the chill March
She plied with accents miserably mild;
It was a frightful thought to set together
Those blooming blossoms and that fading child:—
Those luxuries and largess of the earth,
Beauty and pleasure to the sense of man,
And this poor sorry weed, cast loosely forth
On life's wild waste, to struggle as it can!
To me that odorous purple ministers
Hope-bearing memories and inspiring glee;
While meanest images alone are hers,
The sordid wants of base humanity.
Think, after all this lapse of hungry hours
In the disfurnished chamber of dim cold,
How she must loathe the very scented flowers
That on the squalid table lie unsold!
Rest on your woodland banks and wither there,
Sweet preluders of spring! far better so
Than live misused to fill the grasp of care,
And serve the piteous purposes of woe.
BUTTERCUP, POPPP, FORGET-ME-
Buttercup, poppy, forget-me-not—
These three bloomed in a garden spot,
And once, all merry with song and play,
A little one heard three voices say:
“Shine or shadow, summer or spring—
O thou child with the tangled hair,
And laughing eyes—we three shall bring
Each an offering, passing fair!”
The little one did not understand,
But they bent and kissed the dimpled hand.
Buttercup gambolled all day long,
Sharing the little one's mirth and song;
Then, stealing along on misty gleams,
Poppy came, bringing the sweetest dreams,
Playing and dreaming—that was all.
Till once the sleeper would not awake;
Rissing the little face under the pall,
We thought of the words the third flower
And we found, betimes, in a hallowed spot
The solace and peace of forget-me-not.
Buttercup shareth the joy of day,
Glinting with gold the hours of play;
Bringeth the poppy sweet repose,
When the hands would fold and the eyes would
And after it all—the play and the sleep
Of a little life—what cometh then?
To the hearts that ache and the eyes that weep
A wee flower bringeth God's peace again.
Each one serveth its tender lot—
Buttercup, poppy, forget-me-not.
On a hedge-side,
Said young Dandelion,
“Who'll be my bride?
“I’m a bold fellow
As ever was seen,
With my shield of yellow,
'n the grass green.