Virginia Lucas Poetry Scrapbook

"Ode to the Flowers" by Horace Smith


Transcription of the Poem

Day stars that ope your eyes with man’s to twinkle

  From rainbow galaxies of earth’s creation

And dew drops on her lowly altars sprinkle

          As a libation.


Ye matin worshippers who bending lowly        

  Before the uprisen sun, God’s lidless eye

Throw from your chalices a pure and holy

          Incense on high


Ye bright mosaics that with storied beauty

  The floor of nature’s temple tessellate,         

What numerous emblems of instructive duty

          Your forms create


Neath cloistered boughs each floral bell that swingeth

  Tolls perfume on the passing air

Makes sabbath in the fields, and ever ringeth         

          A call to prayer.


Not to the domes where crumbling arch and column

  Attest the feebleness of mortal hand

But to that fane most catholic and solemn

          Which God hath plann'd.   


To that cathedral boundless as our wonder

  Whose quenchless lamps the sun and moon supply

Whose choir the winds and waves, whole organ thunder

          Whose dome the sky


There as in solitude and shade, I wander         

  Thro the green aisles or stretched upon the sod

Awed by the silence reverently ponder

          The ways of God.


Floral apostles that in dewy splendor

  Weep without woe and blush without a crime

Oh may I deeply learn and ne’er surrender         

          Your lore sublime.


Your voiceless lips O flowers are living preachers

  Each cup a pulpit ev’ry leaf a book     

Supplying to my fancy numerous teachers

          From lowliest nook.




“Thou wert not Solomon” the lilies cry in all thy glory

 “Array’d in robes like ours

How vain your grandeur, Ah how transitory

          Are human flowers         


In the sweet pictures Heavenly artist

  With which thou paintest nature’s wide spread hall.

What a delightful lesson thou impartest

          Of love to all


Nor useless are ye flowers tho’ made for pleasure     

  Blooming o’er field and wave, by day and night

From every source your sanction bids me treasure

          Harmless delight.


Ephemeral sages! what instructors hoary

  For such a world of thought could furnish scope         

Each fading calyx a “memento mori”

          Yet fount of hope


Posthumous glories, angel like collection

  Upraised from seed or bulb interred in earth

Ye are to me a type of resurrection         

          And of second birth.


Were I Oh God in churchless lands remaining

  Far from all voice of teachers or divines

My soul should find in flowers of thy ordaining

          Priests, sermons, shrines.” 


Horace Smith. Born in London 1779.


Biography of Horace Smith
Description of the Poem's Formal Elements
Explication/Analysis of the Poem

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