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The Procession of the Flowers
Like a maiden looking forth
From the window of a tower
When the battle rolls below,
So look'd she,
And saw the storms go by.
Then came the wind-flower
In the valley left behind,
As a wounded maiden, pale
With purple streaks of woe,
When the battle has roll'd by
Wanders to and fro,
So totter'd she,
Dishevell'd in the wind.
Then came the daisies,
On the first of May,
Like a banner'd show's advance
While the crowd runs by the way,
With ten thousand flowers about them they came trooping through the fields.
As a happy people come,
So came they,
As a happy people come
When the war has roll'd away,
With dance and tabor, pipe and drum,
And all make holiday.
Like a dancer in the fair,
She spread her little mat of green,
And on it danced she.
With a fillet bound about her brow,
A fillet round her happy brow,
A golden fillet round her brow,
And rubies in her hair.
Here are sweet peas, on tiptoe for a flight:
With wings of gentle flush o'er delicate white,
And taper fingers catching at all things,
To bind them all about with tiny rings.
Linger awhile upon some bending planks
That lean against a streamlet's rushy banks,
And watch intently Nature's gentle doings:
They will be found softer than ringdove's coo-
How silent comes the water round that bend!
Not the minutest whisper does it send
To the o'erhanging sallows: blades of grass
Slowly across the chequer'd shadows pass.
Only a tender little thing,
So velvet soft and white it is;
But March himself is not so strong,
With all the great gales that are his.
In vain his whistling storms he calls,
In vain the cohorts of his power
Ride down the sky on mighty blasts→→
He cannot crush the little flower.
Its white spear parts the sod, the snows
Than that white spear less snowy are,
The rains roll off its crest like spray,
It lifts again its spotless star.
HARRIET PRESCOTT SPOFFORD
Blossom of the almond trees
April's gift to April's bees,
Birthday ornament of spring,
Flora's fairest daughterling;
Coming when no flowerets dare
Trust the cruel outer air;
When the royal kingcup bold
Dares not don his coat of gold;
And the sturdy black-thorn spray
Keeps his silver for the May;-
Coming when no flowerets would,
Save thy lowly sisterhood,
Early violets, blue and white,
Dying for their love of light.
Almond blossom, sent to teach us.
That the spring-days soon will reach us,
Lest, with longing over-tried,
We die, as the violets died-
Blossom, clouding all the tree
With thy crimson broidery,
Long before a leaf of green
O'er the bravest bough is seen;
Ah! when winter winds are swinging
All thy red bells into ringing,
With a bee in every bell,
Almond blossom, we greet thee well.
Some innocent girlish Kisses by a charm
Changed to a flight of small pink Butterflies,
To waver under June's delicious skies
Across gold-sprinkled meads-the merry swarm
A smiling powerful word did next transform
To little Roses mesh'd in green, allies
Of earth and air, and everything we prize
For mirthful, gentle, delicate, and warm.
I like not lady-slippers,
Nor yet the sweet-pea blossoms,
Nor yet the flaky roses,
Red, or white as snow;
I like the chaliced lilies,
The heavy Eastern lilies,
The gorgeous tiger-lilies,
That in our garden grow!
For they are tall and slender;
Their mouths are dashed with carmine,
And when the wind sweeps by them,
On their emerald stalks
They bend so proud and graceful,—
They are Circassian women,
The favorites of the Sultan,
Adown our garden walks!
And when the rain is falling,
I sit beside the window
And watch them glow and glisten,—
How they burn and glow!