"C'est ainsi qu'elle nature a mis, entre les tropiques, la plupart des fleurs apparentes sur des arbres. J'y en ai vu bien peu dans les prairies, mais beaucoup dans les forets. Dans ces pays, il faut lever les yeux en haut pour y voir des fleurs; dans le notre, il faut les baisser a terre."--SAINT PIERRE, "Etudes de la Nature."
In the soft sunny regions that circle the waist
Of the globe with a girdle of topaz and gold,
Which heave with the throbbings of life where they're placed,
And glow with the fire of the heart they enfold;
Where to live, where to breathe, seems a paradise dream--
A dream of some world more elysian than this--
Where, if Death and if Sin were away, it would seem
Not the foretaste alone, but the fulness of bliss.
Where all that can gladden the sense and the sight,
Fresh fruitage as cool and as crimson as even;
Where the richness and rankness of Nature unite
To build the frail walls of the Sybarite's heaven.
But, ah! should the heart feel the desolate dearth
Of some purer enjoyment to speed the bright hours,
In vain through the leafy luxuriance of earth
Looks the languid-lit eye for the freshness of flowers.
No, its glance must be turned from the earth to the sky,
From the clay-rooted grass to the heaven-branching trees;
And there, oh! enchantment for soul and for eye,
Hang blossoms so pure that an angel might seize.
Thus, when pleasure begins from its sweetness to cloy,
And the warm heart grows rank like a soil over ripe,
We must turn from the earth for some promise of joy,
And look up to heaven for a holier type.
In the climes of the North, which alternately shine,
Now warm with the sunbeam, now white with the snow,
And which, like the breast of the earth they entwine.
Grow chill with its chillness, or glow with its glow,
In those climes where the soul, on more vigorous wing,
Rises soaring to heaven in its rapturous flight,
And, led ever on by the radiance they fling,
Tracketh star after star through infinitude's night.
How oft doth the seer from his watch-tower on high.
Scan the depths of the heavens with his wonderful glass;
And, like Adam of old, when Earth's creatures went by,
Name the orbs and the sun-lighted spheres as they pass.
How often, when drooping, and weary, and worn,
With fire-throbbing temples and star-dazzled eyes,
Does he turn from his glass at the breaking of morn,
And exchanges for flowers all the wealth of the skies?
Ah! thus should we mingle the far and the near,
And, while striving to pierce what the Godhead conceals,
From the far heights of Science look down with a fear
To the lowliest truths the same Godhead reveals.
When the rich fruit of Joy glads the heart and the mouth,
Or the bold wing of Thought leads the daring soul forth;
Let us proudly look up as for flowers of the south,
Let us humbly look down as for flowers of the north.