[from Collected Works, T.E.Brown]


WHITE foxglove, by an angle in the wall,
Secluded, tall,
No vulgar bees
Consult you, wondering If such a dainty thing
Can give them ease.
Yet what was that ? Sudden a breeze
From the far moorland sighed,
And you replied,
Quiv'ring a moment with a thrill Sweet, but ineffable.
Was it a kiss that sought you from the bowers
Of happier flowers,
And did not heed Accessible loveliness,
And with a quaint distress
Hinted the need,
And paused and trembled for its deed,
And so you trembled, too,
No roseate hue
Revealing how the alarmëd sense
Blushed quick-intense ?
Ah me!
Such kisses are for roses in the prime,
For braid of lime,
For full-blown blooms,
For ardent breaths outpoured
Obvious, or treasure stored in honied rooms
Of rare delight, in which the looms
Of nature still conspire
To sate desire.
Not such are you beside the wall,
Cloistered and virginal.
'Twas your wild purple sisters there that passed
Unseen, and cast
The spell. They hold
The vantage of the heights,
And in you they have rights,
And they are bold
They know not ever to be cold
Or coy, but they would play
With you alway.
Wherefore their little sprites a-wing
Make onslaught from the ling.
So spake I to the foxglove in my mood,
But was not understood.
Rather she shrank, and in a tenfold whiteness
Condemned what must have seemed to her my lightness.


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