Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
1592. From “The Old-Fashioned Garden”
 
By John Russell Hayes
 
 
FAIR is each budding thing the garden shows,
  From spring’s frail crocus to the latest bloom
Of fading autumn. Every wind that blows
  Across that glowing tract sips rare perfume
From all the tangled blossoms tossing there;—        5
Soft winds, they fain would linger long, nor any farther fare.
 
The morning-glories ripple o’er the hedge
  And fleck its greenness with their tinted foam;
Sweet wilding things, up to the garden’s edge
  They love to wander from their meadow home,        10
To take what little pleasure here they may
Ere all their silken trumpets close before the warm midday.
 
The larkspur lifts on high its azure spires,
  And up the arbor’s lattices are rolled
The quaint nasturtium’s many-colored fires;        15
  The tall carnation’s breast of faded gold
Is striped with many a faintly-flushing streak,
Pale as the tender tints that blush upon a baby’s cheek.
 
The old sweet-rocket sheds its fine perfumes;
  With golden stars the coreopsis flames;        20
And here are scores of sweet old-fashioned blooms
  Dear for the very fragrance of their names,—
Poppies and gillyflowers and four-o’clocks,
Cowslips and candytuft and heliotrope and hollyhocks,
 
Harebells and peonies and dragon-head,        25
  Petunias, scarlet sage, and bergamot,
Verbenas, ragged-robins, soft gold-thread,
  The bright primrose and pale forget-me-not,
Wall-flowers and crocuses and columbines,
Narcissus, asters, hyacinths, and honeysuckle vines,        30
 
Foxgloves and marigolds and mignonette,
  Dahlias and lavender and damask rose.
O dear old flowers, ye are blooming yet,—
  Each year afresh your lovely radiance glows:
But where are they who saw your beauty’s dawn?        35
Ah, with the flowers of other years they long ago have gone!
 
They long have gone, but ye are still as fair
  As when the brides of eighty years ago
Plucked your soft roses for their waving hair,
  And blossoms o’er their bridal-veils to strow.        40
Alas, your myrtle on a later day
Marked those low mounds where ’neath the willows’ shade at last they lay!
 
Beside the walk the drowsy poppies sway,
  More deep of hue than is the reddest rose,
And dreamy-warm as summer’s midmost day:        45
  Proud, languorous queens of slumberous repose—
Within their little chalices they keep
The mystic witchery that brings mild, purple-lidded sleep.
 
Drowse on, soft flowers of quiet afternoons,—
  The breezes sleep beneath your lulling spell;        50
In dreamy silence all the garden swoons,
  Save where the lily’s aromatic bell
Is murmurous with one low-humming bee,
As oozy honey-drops are pilfered by that filcher wee.
 
And now is gone the dreamy afternoon,—        55
  The sun has sunk below yon western height;
The pallid silver of the harvest-moon
  Floods all the garden with its soft, weird light.
The flowers long since have told their dewy beads,
And naught is heard except the frogs’ small choir in distant meads.        60
 

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