by Elizabeth Bentley
AS Henry, with the maid he loved,
The garden's mazy circles moved,
With contemplative eye survey'd
The flow'rs in summer pride array'd;
Their numerous tribes in order ranged,
Their varied beauties interchanged,
With placid yet enraptur'd air,
He thus address'd the admiring fair:
See, Anna, see, in glowing dies,
Where Nature's loveliest children rise;
What hand their filmy texture wrought,
And every hairy fibre brought,
To form those petals firm and bright,
Whose vivid graces charm the sight?
To frame the slenderest spire of grass,
The skill of man does far surpass;
Vain human art th' attempt must leave,
Nor can thy softer fingers weave
A web so delicately fine;
These are the works of hands divine:
Here let the Atheist turn his eye,
And still great Nature's God deny.
The maid replied, a wretch so blind
May triumph in his narrow mind;
Let us adore th' Almighty Power,
Who made the heav'ns, the earth, the flow'r,
Beneath our feet such beauties spread,
And arch'd yon vault above our head.
See, Henry cried, the modest Rose,
Her charms how timid to disclose;
While deck'd with every gaudy hue,
The flaunting Tulip courts the view,
From whom the bee extracts no store,
(Tho' flippant butterflies adore)
But seeks the Rose, who meekly bends,
While on her cheek the dew-drop pends.
Flirtilla thus each art displays,
To catch the coxcomb's idle gaze,
While worth and sense avert their eyes,
And all her vaunted charms despise:
While thou, sweet maid, art like yon Rose;
Thy mind, where beauteous virtue glows,
From vain admirers still conceal'd,
To kindred souls alone reveal'd.
But mark To-morrow's chilling breath
Shall bid both flowers submit to death;
The Tulip on the dunghill thrown,
Our eyes her faded form disown;
But tho' the Rose no bloom retains,
Her odoriferous scent remains.
Thus when Flirtilla meets her doom,
Her memory sinks beneath the tomb;
But Anna, who each charm derives
From inborn worth, that tomb survives.
Thus mere external beauty dies,
While virtue's sweet perfumes shall rise
Superior from the bed of clay,
To triumph in immortal day.
Last updated January 14, 2019