To The Butterfly.

A poem by John Clare

Lovely insect, haste away,
Greet once more the sunny day;
Leave, O leave the murky barn,
Ere trapping spiders thee discern;
Soon as seen, they will beset
Thy golden wings with filmy net,
Then all in vain to set thee free,
Hopes all lost for liberty.
Never think that I belie,
Never fear a winter sky;
Budding oaks may now be seen,
Starry daisies deck the green,
Primrose groups the woods adorn,
Cloudless skies, and blossom'd thorn;
These all prove that spring is here,
Haste away then, never fear.
Skim o'er hill and valley free,
Perch upon the blossom'd tree;
Though my garden would be best,
Couldst thou but contended rest:
There the school-boy has no power
Thee to chase from flower to flower,
Harbour none for cruel sport,
Far away thy foes resort;
Nought is there but liberty,
Pleasant place for thee and me.
Then hither bend thy roving flight,
In my garden take delight.
Though the dew-bent level dale
Rears the lily of the vale,
Though the thicket's bushy dell
Tempts thee to the foxglove's bell,
Come but once within my bounds,
View my garden's airy rounds,
Soon thou'lt find the scene complete,
And every flowret twice as sweet:
Then, lovely insect, come away,
Greet once more the sunny day.
Oft I've seen, when warm and dry,
'Mong the bean-fields bosom high,
How thy starry gems and gold
To admiration would unfold:
Lo! the arching heavenly bow
Doth all his dyes on thee bestow,
Crimson, blue, and watery green,
Mix'd with azure shade between;
These are thine--thou first in place,
Queen of all the insect race!
And I've often thought, alone,
This to thee was not unknown;
For amid the sunny hour,
When I've found thee on a flower,
(Searching with minutest gleg,)
Oft I've seen thy little leg
Soft as glass o'er velvet glides
Smoothen down thy silken sides;
Then thy wings would ope and shut;
Then thou seemingly wouldst strut:
Was it nature, was it pride
Let the learned world decide.
Enough for me, (though some may deem
This a trifling, silly theme,)
Would'st thou in my garden come,
To join the bee's delightful hum;
These silly themes then, day and night,
Should be thy trifler's whole delight.
Then, lovely insect, haste away,
Greet once more the sunny day.

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