Lundy's Lane and Other Poems

by Duncan Campbell Scott


 

NOVEMBER PANSY


THIS is not June,—by Autumn's stratagem
  Thou hast been ambushed in the chilly air;
Upon thy fragile crest virginal fair
The rime has clustered in a diadem;
  The early frost 5
Has nipped thy roots and tried thy tender stem,  
  Seared thy gold petals, all thy charm is lost.

 
THYSELF the only sunshine: in obeying  
  The law that bids thee blossom in the world
Thy little flag of courage is unfurled;
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Inherent pansy-memories are saying  
  That there is sun,  
That there is dew and colour and warmth repaying  
  The rain, the starlight when the light is done.

 
THESE are the gaunt forms of the hollyhocks 15
  That shower the seeds from out their withered purses;
Here were the pinks; there the nasturtium nurses
 
The last of colour in her gaudy smocks;  
  The ruins yonder  
Show but a vestige of the flaming phlox; 20
  The poppies on their faded glory ponder.

 
HERE visited the vagrant humming-bird,  
  The nebulous darting green, the ruby-throated;
The warm fans of the butterfly here floated;
 
Those two nests reared the robins, and the third 25
  Was left forlorn  
Muffled in lilacs, whence the perfume stirred  
  The tremulous eyelids of the dewy morn.

 
THY sisters of the early summer-time  
  Were masquers in this carnival of pleasure;
Each in her turn unrolled her golden treasure,
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And thou hast but the ashes of the prime;  
  ’Tis life's own malice  
That brings the peasant of a race sublime  
 

To feed her flock around her ruined palace.

35

YET for withstanding thus the autumn's dart
 
  Some deeper pansy-insight will atone;
It comes to souls neglected and alone,
 
Something that prodigals in pleasure's mart  
  Lose in the whirl; 40
The peasant child will have a purer heart  
  Than the vain favorite of the vanished earl.

 
AND far above this tragic world of ours  
  There is a world of a diviner fashion,
A mystic world, a world of dreams and passion
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That each aspiring thing creates and dowers  
  With its own light;  
Where even the frail spirits of trees and flowers  
  Pause, and reach out, and pass from height to height.

 
HERE will we claim for thee another fief, 50
  An upland where a glamour haunts the meadows,
Snow peaks arise enrobed in rosy shadows,
 
Fairer the under slopes with vine and sheaf  
  And shimmering lea;  
The paradise of a simple old belief, 55
  That flourished in the Islands of the Sea.

 
A SNOW-COOL cistern in the fairy hills  
  Shall feed thy roots with moisture clear as dew;
A ferny shield to temper the warm blue
 
That heaven is; a thrush that thrills 60
  To answer his mate,  
And when above the ferns the shadow fills,  
  Fireflies to render darkness consolate.

 
HERE muse and brood, moulding thy seed and die  
  And re-create thy form a thousand fold,
Mellowing thy petals to more lucent gold,
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Till they expand, tissues of amber sky;  
  Till the full hour,  
And the full light and the fulfilling eye  
  Shall find amid the ferns the perfect flower.