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Fair flower, that, lapt in lowly glade,
Dost hide beneath the greenwood shade,
Than whom the vernal gale
None fairer wakes on bank or spray,
Our England's lily of the May,
Our Lily of the vale!
Art thou that “ Lily of the field,”
Which, when the Saviour sought to shield
The heart from blank despair,
He showed to our mistrustful kind
An emblem of the thoughtful mind
Of God's paternal care ?
Not thus, I trow; for brighter shine
To the warm skies of Palestine
Those children of the East :
There, when mild autumn's early rain
Descends on parched Esdrela's plain,
And Tabor's oak-girt crest ;
* The Editor has taken a liberty (for which the beauty of the language as well as the poetry must plead her excuse) of extracting this piece from “ The British Months,” a poem in twelve parts, by Dr. Mant, Lord Bishop of Down and Connor, recently published by Mr. Parker, West Strand.
More frequent than the host of night,
Those earth-born stars, as sages write,
Their brilliant disks unfold ;
Fit symbol of imperial state,
Their sceptre-seeming forms elate,
And crowns of burnished gold.
But not the less, sweet spring-tide's flower,
Dost thou display the Maker's power,
His skill and handywork;
Our western valleys' humbler child,
Where, in green nook of woodland wild,
Thy modest blossoms lurk.
What though nor care nor art be thine,
The loom to ply, the thread to twine,
Yet, born to bloom and fade,
Thee too a lovelier robe arrays,
Than, e’en in Israel's brightest days,
Her wealthiest king arrayed.
Of thy twin leaves the embowered screen,
Which wraps thee in thy shroud of green;
Thy Eden-breathing smell ;
Thy arched and purple-vested stem,
Whence pendent many a pearly gem,
Displays a milk-white bell.
Instinct with life thy fibrous root,
Which sends from earth the ascending shoot,
As rising from the dead,
And fills thy veins with verdant juice,
Charged thy fair blossoms to produce,
And berries scarlet red.
The triple cell, the twofold seed,
A ceaseless treasure-house decreed,
Whence aye thy race may grow,
As from creation they have grown,
While Spring shall weave her flowery crown,
Or vernal breezes blow.
Who forms thee thus, with unseen hand ?
Who at creation gave command,
And willed thee thus to be;
And keeps thee still in being, through
Age after age revolving? Who
But the great God is he?
Omnipotent to work his will ;
Wise, who contrives each part to fill
The post to each assigned ;
Still provident, with sleepless care,
To keep, to make thee sweet and fair
For man's enjoyment_kind !
“ There is no God,” the senseless say :“ O God! why cast'st thou us away, ?”
Of feeble faith and frail, The mourner breathes his anxious thought :By thee a better lesson taught,
Sweet lily of the vale !
Yes, He who made and fosters thee,
In reason's eye perforce must be
Of majesty divine.
Nor deems she, that his guardian care
Will He in man's support forbear,
Who thus provides for thee.
Lone flower, hemmed in with snows as white as they,
But hardier far, once more I see thee bend
Thy forehead, as if fearful to offend,
Like an unbidden guest. Though day by day,
Storms, sallying from the mountain-tops, waylay
The rising sun, and on the plains descend;
Yet art thou welcome, welcome as a friend
Whose zeal outruns his promise. Blue-eyed May
Shall soon behold this border thickly set
With bright jonquils, their odours lavishing
On the soft west wind and his frolic peers ;
Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,
Chaste snowdrop, vent'rous harbinger of spring,
And pensive monitor of fleeting years !
PRESENTED TO A FRIEND, JANUARY, 1829.
Sweet herald of the ever-gentle Spring,
How gently waved o'er thee the Winter's wing !
Around thee blew the warm Favonian gale,
Devonia nursed thee in her loveliest vale ;
Beneath she rolled the Plym's pellucid stream,
And Heaven diffused around its quickening beam.
But, ah! the sun, the shower, the zephyr bland,
Made thee but fair to tempt the spoiler's hand.
I cannot bear thee to thy bank again,
And bathe thy breast in soft refreshing rain,
Nor bid the gentle zephyr round thee play,
Nor 'raptured eye thee basking in the ray;
But snapped untimely from thy velvet stem,
Be thou my daily care, my“ bonnie gem,"
And when thus severed from thy native glade,
The radiance of thy cinque-rayed star shall fade,
And pale decay come creeping o'er thy bloom,
A sigh, dear flower, shall mourn thy early doom.