To John Forbes, Esq. Poem by Helen Maria Williams

To John Forbes, Esq.



ON HIS BRINGING ME FLOWERS FROM VAUCLUSE, AND
WHICH HE HAD PRESERVED BY MEANS OF
AN INGENIOUS PROCESS IN THEIR
ORIGINAL BEAUTY.


SWEET spoils of consecrated bowers,
How dear to me these chosen flowers!
I love the simplest bud that blows,
I love the meanest weed that grows:
Symbols of nature--every form
That speaks of her this heart can warm;
But ye, delicious flowers, assume
In fancy's eye a brighter bloom;
A dearer pleasure ye diffuse,
Cull'd by the fountain of Vaucluse!

For ye were nurtur'd on the sod
Where PETRARCH mourn'd, and LAURA trod;
Ye grew on that inspiring ground
Where love has shed enchantment round;
Where still the tear of passion flows,
Fond tribute to a poet's woes!
Yet, cherish'd flowers, with love and fame
This wreath entwines a milder name;
Friendship, who better knows than they
The spells that smooth our length'ning way,--
Friendship the blooming off'ring brought;
When FORBES the classic fountain sought,
For me he cull'd the fresh-blown flowers,
And fix'd their hues with potent powers;
Their pliant forms with skilful care
He seized, and stamp'd duration there;
His gift shall ever glad the eye,--
Nor, like my verse is born to die.

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