Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Georgian Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Georgian Verse.  1909.
 
The Small Celandine
By William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
 
THERE is a Flower, the lesser Celandine,
That shrinks, like many more, from cold and rain;
And, the first moment that the sun may shine,
Bright as the sun himself, ’tis out again!
 
When hailstones have been falling, swarm on swarm,        5
Or blasts the green fields and the trees distrest,
Oft have I seen it muffled up from harm,
In close self-shelter, like a Thing at rest.
 
But lately, one rough day, this Flower I passed
And recognized it, though an altered form,        10
Now standing forth an offering to the blast,
And buffeted at will by rain and storm.
 
I stopped, and said with inly-muttered voice,
‘It doth not love the shower, nor seek the cold:
This neither is its courage nor its choice,        15
But its necessity in being old.
 
‘The sunshine may not cheer it, nor the dew:
It cannot help itself in its decay;
Stiff in its members, withered, changed of hue.’
And, in my spleen, I smiled that it was grey.        20
 
To he a Prodigal’s Favourite—then, worse truth,
A Miser’s Pensioner—behold our lot!
O Man, that from thy fair and shining youth
Age might but take the things Youth needed not!
 
 
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