A common wayside flower it grew,
Unhandsome and unnoticed too,
Except in deprecation
That such an herb unreared by toil,
Prolific cumberer of the soil,
Its gorgeous blooms were never stirred
By honey-bee nor humming-bird
In their corollas dipping;
But they from clover white and red
Delicious nectar drew instead
In dainty rounds of sipping.
No place its own euphonious name
Within the catalogue might claim
Of any flora-lover;
For, in the scores of passers-by,
As yet no true artistic eye
Its beauty could discover.
The reaper with his sickle keen
Aimed at its crest of gold and green
With spiteful stroke relentless,
And would have rooted from the ground
The "Solidago" - blossom-crowned,
But gaudy, rank, and scentless.
But everything must have its day -
And since some fickle devotée
Or myrmidon of Fashion
Declares that this obnoxious weed,
From wild, uncultivated seed,
Shall be the "ruling passion,"
Effusive schoolgirls dote on it;
Whose "frontispieces" infinite
That need no decoration
Are hid beneath its golden dust,
Till many a fine, symmetric bust
Is lost to admiration.
Smart dudes and ladies' men - the few
Who wish they could be ladies too -
Display a sprig of yellow
Conspicuous in their buttonhole,
To captivate a maiden soul
Or vex some other fellow.
And spinsters of uncertain age
Are clamoring now for "all the rage"
To give a dash of color
To their complexions, which appear
To be the hue they hold so dear -
Except a trifle duller.
That négligée "blue-stocking" friend,
Who never cared her time to spend
On mysteries of the toilet,
Now wears a sumptuous bouquet
And shakes your hand a mile away
For fear that you will spoil it.
Delightful widows, dressed in black,
Complain with modest sighs they lack
That coveted expression,
That sort of Indian Summer air
Which "relicts" always ought to wear
By general concession;
And so lugubrious folds of crape
Are crimped and twisted into shape
With graceful heads of yellow,
That give a winsome toning down
To sombre hat and sable gown -
In autumn tintings mellow.
Alas, we only hate the weed!
And think that it must be, indeed,
The ladies' last endeavor
To match the gentlemen, who flaunt
That odious dried tobacco plant
At which they puff forever.