Charlotte Smith

(4 May 1749 – 28 October 1806 / London)

Ode To The Poppy


Written by a deceased friend.

NOT for the promise of the labour'd field,
Not for the good the yellow harvests yield,
I bend at Ceres' shrine;
For dull, to human eyes, appear
The golden glories of the year,
Alas!--a melancholy worship's mine,
I hail the goddess for her scarlet flower;
Thou brilliant weed,
That dost so far exceed
The richest gifts gay Flora can bestow:
Heedless I pass'd thee, in life's morning hour,
(Thou comforter of woe)
Till sorrow taught me to confess thy power.
In early days, when Fancy cheats,
A varied wreath I wove,
Of laughing Spring's luxuriant sweets,
To deck ungrateful Love:
The rose, or thorn, my labours crown'd;
As Venus smiled, or Venus frown'd;

But Love and Joy, and all their train, are flown;
E'en languid Hope no more is mine,
And I will sing of thee alone,
Unless, perchance, the attributes of Grief,
The cypress bud, and willow leaf,
Their pale funereal foliage blend with thine.
Hail, lovely blossom!--thou canst ease
The wretched victims of Disease;
Canst close those weary eyes in gentle sleep,
Which never open but to weep;
For, oh! thy potent charm
Can agonizing Pain disarm;
Expel imperious Memory from her seat,
And bid the throbbing heart forget to beat.
Soul-soothing plant! that can such blessings give,
By thee the mourner bears to live!
By thee the hopeless die!
Oh! ever 'friendly to despair,'
Might Sorrow's pallid votary dare,
Without a crime, that remedy implore,
Which bids the spirit from its bondage fly,
I'd court thy palliative aid no more;
No more I'd sue that thou shouldst spread,
Thy spell around my aching head,
But would conjure thee to impart
Thy balsam for a broken heart;
And by thy soft Lethean power,
( Inestimable flower)
Burst these terrestrial bonds, and other regions try.

Submitted: Thursday, April 15, 2010

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