In the race of the flowers that's run due,
As the HARTSTONGUE pants at the well
And the HOUNDSTONGUE laps the SUNDEW.
Here's VENUS'-COMBE for MAIDENHAIR:
While KING-CUPS drink BELLA-DONNA,
Glad in purple and gold so fair,
Though the DEADLY NIGHTSHADE'S upon her.
Behold LONDON PRIDE robed & crowned,
Ushered in by the GOLDEN ROD,
While a floral crowd press around,
Just to win from her crest a nod.
The FOXGLOVES are already on.
Not only in pairs but dozens;
They've come out to see all the fun,
With sisters and aunts and cousins.
The STITCHWORK looked up with a sigh
At BATCHELOR'S BUTTONS unsewn:
Single Daisies were not in her eye,
For the grass was just newly mown.
The HORSE-TAIL, 'scaped from WOLFE'S CLAW,
Rides off with a LADIES' LAGES.
The FRIAR'S-COWL hides a doctor of law,
And the BISHOP'S-WEED covers his grace's
The SNAPDRAGON opened his jaw,
But, at sight of Scotch THISTLE, turned pale:
He'd too many points of the law
For a dragon without a scale.
Little JENNY-CREEPER lay low,
Till happy thoughts made her gladder;
How to rise in the world she'd know,
So she climbed up JACOB'S LADDER
SWEET WILLIAM with MARYGOLD
Seek HEARTSEASE in the close box-border.
Where, starched in their ruff's stiff fold,
DUTCH DAHLIAS prim, keep order.
NARCISSUS bends over the brook,
Intent upon DAFFA-DOWN-DILLY:
While EYEBRIGHT observes from her nook,
And wonders he could be so silly.
A LANCE FOR A LAD 'gainst KING'S SPEAR.
When the BUGLE sounds for the play
A LADIES MANTLE flaunting there
Is the banner that leads the fray.
KNIGHT'S SPUR to the LADIES BOWER
To seek for the LADIES SLIPPER.
'Twas lost in the wood in a summer shower
When the CLOWN'S WORT tried to trip her.
TOAD-FLAX is spun for BUTTER-AND-EGGS
On a LADIES' CUSHION sits THRIFT
She never wastes, or steals, or begs,
But she can't give poor RAGWORT a lift.
QUEEN OF THE MEADS is MEADOWSWEET,
In the realm of grasses wide:
But not in all her court you meet
The turbaned TURK'S HEAD in his pride.
Fair BETHLEHEM' STAR shineth bright,
In a lowly place, as of old,
And through the green gloom glows the light
Of ST. JOHN'S-WORT--a nimbus of gold.
But the hours of the sun swift glide,
And the flowers with them are speeding.
Though LOVE-IN-A-MIST may hide.
When Time's in the garden weeding.
There's TRAVELLER'S JOY
At our journey's end for greeting,
We can talk over SOPS-IN-WINE,
And drink to our next merry meeting.