The Black Wallflower by Frances Anne Kemble

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I found a flower in a desolate plot,
Where no man wrought,—by a deserted cot,
Where no man dwelt, a strange, dark-colour’d gem,
Black heavy buds on a pale leafless stem,
I pluck’d it, wondering, and with it hied
To my brave May, and, showing it, I cried:
‘Look, what a dismal flower! did ever bloom,
Born of our earth and air, wear such a gloom?
It looks as it should grow out of a tomb:
Is it not mournful?’ ‘No,’ replied the child,
And, gazing on it thoughtfully, she smiled.
She knows each word of that great book of God,
Spread out between the blue sky and the sod:
‘There are no mournful flowers—they are all glad,
This is a solemn one, but not a sad.’
Lo! with the dawn the black buds open’d slowly,
Within each cup a colour deep and holy,
As sacrificial blood, glow’d rich and red,
And through the velvet tissue mantling spread,
While in the midst of this dark crimson heat
A precious golden heart did throb and beat,
Through ruby leaves the morning light did shine,
Each mournful bud had grown a flow’r divine,
And bitter sweet to senses and to soul,
A breathing came from them, that fill’d the whole
Of the surrounding tranced and sunny air
With its strange fragrance, like a silent prayer.
Then cried I, ‘From the earth’s whole wreath I’ll borrow
No flower but thee! thou exquisite type of sorrow!’

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