Pine, Rose and Fleur de Lis

by Susie Frances Harrison


 

ON DURDHAM DOWN


 

                                                        I.

O who will come and view with me
The glory of the chestnut tree?

And who with me will fondly laud,
Forgetting carven ones abroad,

In London, Moscow, or in Rome,

5
This green and more harmonious dome?

If such a friend exist for me,
Let him make haste, come soon, that we

Together rosy rain may share,
That falls upon my cheek, my hair,

10

Then flutters delicately down,
Bestrews with pink the roadside brown.

                                                        II.

Choice of the chestnuts, pink or white,
Is mine and his for our delight.

                                                        III.

Then let him come with me and see

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The blossoming laburnum tree.

The purest yellow in the world
Hangs from its tender green unfurled.

No poet that I know has sung
This perfect yellow downward flung—

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Indeed, no poet that I know,
From out his heart’s glad overflow,

Has sung, as I should like to sing,
The splendours of an English spring.

Is it revealed to me this day

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To be the priestess of the May,

The next, the fairest that we see,
The best beloved of any tree,

The hawthorn—pink, and white, and red,
That sometimes stretches overhead,

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And sometimes grows so low, so low,
That I can touch it as I go?

To be the poet of the May,
Were cause enough to wear the bay,

And wear it humbly, since I see

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For the first time the hawthorn tree.

                                                        IV.

When first it wears its snow-white crown,
A lovely sight is Durdham Down!

The bloom is piled like drifting snow!
I think, if some slight wind should blow,

40

It would arise and fly away,
It seems too light, too soft, to stay!

And well it is the sun is paled
So often in this land mist-veiled.

Should once his natural fire be felt,

45
The bloom would slowly, surely melt!

But soon it proves itself a flower
That crowns the Down with snowy dower,

For here and there the red May shows
As rich a crimson as the rose,

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And last, there wakes for new delight,
Another sense than that of sight,

For sweeter e’en than new-mown hay
Is blown the fragrance of the May,

And I am happy—since I see

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For the first time the hawthorn tree!

 


 

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