Alfred Lord Tennyson

(6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892 / Lincoln / England)

The Flower - Poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Once in a golden hour
I cast to earth a seed.
Up there came a flower,
The people said, a weed.

To and fro they went
Thro' my garden bower,
And muttering discontent
Cursed me and my flower.

Then it grew so tall
It wore a crown of light,
But thieves from o'er the wall
Stole the seed by night.

Sow'd it far and wide
By every town and tower,
Till all the people cried,
'Splendid is the flower! '

Read my little fable:
He that runs may read.
Most can raise the flowers now,
For all have got the seed.

And some are pretty enough,
And some are poor indeed;
And now again the people
Call it but a weed.

Topic(s) of this poem: flower

Comments about The Flower by Alfred Lord Tennyson

  • (7/11/2018 9:31:00 AM)

    Its too sweet and interesting poem i like it (Report) Reply

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  • (6/3/2018 12:36:00 PM)

    Excellent (Report) Reply

  • (11/8/2016 11:18:00 AM)

    Excellent poem with a great message for whoever that can read, interprete and understand it! The rhyming is great too. (Report) Reply

  • (10/12/2016 1:12:00 AM)

    The Flower: a suggestion
    This poem contains several biblical allusions, which suggested to my mind a simple (some might say simplistic) interpretation that illuminates many of the obscurities in this poem. The strongest biblical allusion is almost a direct quotation from Habukkuk 2: 2 (He that runs may read) . Tennyson appears to be saying that his little fable is easy to understand for those who care to take the time. His reference to 'thieves from o'er the wall' may be a reference to John 10: 1, and his references to sowing and seeds may have been inspired by Jesus' parable of the sower (Matthew 13) . I interpret the flower to represent Jesus, and the seed his message.

    Once in a golden hour
    I cast to earth a seed

    “When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his son” (Galatians 4: 4)

    Up there came a flower

    Jesus was the embodiment of spiritual beauty. “And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth “(John 1: 14) .

    The people said, a weed

    Jesus was rejected by his own people. He came unto his own, and his own received him not (John 1: 14)

    To and fro they went
    Thro my Garden bower
    And muttering discontent
    Cursed me and my flower

    According to Jesus, he was rejected by his people because they also rejected God. “He that hateth me hateth my Father also” (John 15: 23) .

    Then it grew so tall
    It wore a crown of light

    Jesus said “I am the light of the word” (John 8: 12) .

    But thieves from o’er the wall
    Stole the seed by night

    This alludes to John 10: 1, where the ‘thieves from o’er the wall’ are the corrupt Jewish leaders of the time (John 10: 1) . But this cannot be what Tennyson means, because the same thieves are later responsible by spreading the seed hither and thither. Perhaps he has corrupt Christian leaders in mind, who although they had helped spread the seed, yet were not true shepherds. Another possibility is that he is alluding to the accusations that Jesus disciples stole his body by night.

    Most can raise the flowers now, for all have got the seed.

    Most people in Tennyson’s time had the capacity ‘raise the flower’ that is, develop in their own lives the Christian virtues of ‘grace and truth’ shown perfectly in Jesus. They all had the seed – that is, they could all read the Bible through which the message was spread.

    Some are pretty enough, and some are poor indeed

    Some Christians lead good lives that are in harmony with what they profess. Others are only the palest imitations of the man the claim to follow.

    And now again the people call it but a weed.

    In Tennyson’s time there was a growing discontent with Christianity.

    This may or Many readers will no doubt prefer a more open, less concrete way of looking at the poem. This is merely my guess at what Tennyson may have meant based on the preponderance of biblical allusions within the poem.
    (Report) Reply

    (11/8/2016 11:30:00 AM)

    Harrington, what a great interpretation! You clearly understood the poem.

  • Geeta Radhakrishna Menon (8/6/2016 11:52:00 PM)

    Spendid is the flower- so is this splendid poem of Tennyson - the great!
    Wonderful poem!
    (Report) Reply

  • (8/6/2016 3:27:00 PM)

    Read my little fable:
    He that runs may read.
    Most can raise the flowers now,
    For all have got the seed.-Wonderful poem
    (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda (8/6/2016 9:01:00 AM)

    Beautiful poem with a hidden message.Liked the flow and rhyming. So nice. (Report) Reply

  • (8/6/2016 7:20:00 AM)

    A beautifully envisioned poem with deep meaning and praising the marvels of nature at the same time. Thanks for sharing this great poem here. (Report) Reply

  • Akachukwu Lekwauwa (8/6/2016 6:59:00 AM)

    this poem must hold meaning other than the surface affords (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (8/6/2016 3:23:00 AM)

    He that runs may read! Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Ahmed Gumaa Siddiek (2/9/2016 2:59:00 AM)

    it is a poem about wisdom. The seed of the flower is the seed for wisdom. great poem. (Report) Reply

  • Rosie Bourget (1/16/2016 9:05:00 PM)

    Very well illustrated. I like the way it's rhymed. (Report) Reply

  • Rosie Bourget (1/16/2016 9:01:00 PM)

    That's an awesome one about flower. (Report) Reply

  • Primrose Tee (6/4/2014 4:09:00 PM)

    well writen one here...... (Report) Reply

  • (7/11/2013 1:53:00 AM)

    Me too, Staci He that runs may read? What? ? ? I'm getting daft image of paper boy trying to run and read newspaper at the same time! (Report) Reply

  • (1/11/2007 5:12:00 PM)

    I was wondering if anyone had any insights on the line 'He that runs may read'? (Report) Reply

    (10/12/2016 12:01:00 AM)

    This is quoting from Habbakuk 2: 2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it
    Tennyson appears to be saying that his fable should be understand for those making the effort.

Read all 18 comments »

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Read poems about / on: flower, people, light, night, running

Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004

Poem Edited: Friday, January 2, 2015

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