A Sensitive Plant in a garden grew, And the young winds fed it with silver dew, And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light. And closed them beneath the kisses of Night.
And the Spring arose on the garden fair, Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere; And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.
But none ever trembled and panted with bliss In the garden, the field, or the wilderness, Like a doe in the noontide with love's sweet want, As the companionless Sensitive Plant.
The snowdrop, and then the violet, Arose from the ground with warm rain wet, And their breath was mixed with fresh odour, sent From the turf, like the voice and the instrument.
Then the pied wind-flowers and the tulip tall, And narcissi, the fairest among them all, Who gaze on their eyes in the stream's recess, Till they die of their own dear loveliness;
And the Naiad-like lily of the vale, Whom youth makes so fair and passion so pale That the light of its tremulous bells is seen Through their pavilions of tender green;
And the hyacinth purple, and white, and blue, Which flung from its bells a sweet peal anew Of music so delicate, soft, and intense, It was felt like an odour within the sense;
And the rose like a nymph to the bath addressed, Which unveiled the depth of her glowing breast, Till, fold after fold, to the fainting air The soul of her beauty and love lay bare:
And the wand-like lily, which lifted up, As a Maenad, its moonlight-coloured cup, Till the fiery star, which is its eye, Gazed through clear dew on the tender sky;
And the jessamine faint, and the sweet tuberose, The sweetest flower for scent that blows; And all rare blossoms from every clime Grew in that garden in perfect prime.
And on the stream whose inconstant bosom Was pranked, under boughs of embowering blossom, With golden and green light, slanting through Their heaven of many a tangled hue,
Broad water-lilies lay tremulously, And starry river-buds glimmered by, And around them the soft stream did glide and dance With a motion of sweet sound and radiance.
And the sinuous paths of lawn and of moss, Which led through the garden along and across, Some open at once to the sun and the breeze, Some lost among bowers of blossoming trees,
Were all paved with daisies and delicate bells As fair as the fabulous asphodels, And flow'rets which, drooping as day drooped too, Fell into pavilions, white, purple, and blue, To roof the glow-worm from the evening dew.
And from this undefiled Paradise The flowers (as an infant's awakening eyes Smile on its mother, whose singing sweet Can first lull, and at last must awaken it),
When Heaven's blithe winds had unfolded them, As mine-lamps enkindle a hidden gem, Shone smiling to Heaven, and every one Shared joy in the light of the gentle sun;
For each one was interpenetrated With the light and the odour its neighbour shed, Like young lovers whom youth and love make dear Wrapped and filled by their mutual atmosphere.
But the Sensitive Plant which could give small fruit Of the love which it felt from the leaf to the root, Received more than all, it loved more than ever, Where none wanted but it, could belong to the giver,-
For the Sensitive Plant has no bright flower; Radiance and odour are not its dower; It loves, even like Love, its deep heart is full, It desires what it has not, the Beautiful!
The light winds which from unsustaining wings Shed the music of many murmurings; The beams which dart from many a star Of the flowers whose hues they bear afar;
The plumed insects swift and free, Like golden boats on a sunny sea, Laden with light and odour, which pass Over the gleam of the living grass;
The unseen clouds of the dew, which lie Like fire in the flowers till the sun rides high, Then wander like spirits among the spheres, Each cloud faint with the fragrance it bears;
The quivering vapours of dim noontide, Which like a sea o'er the warm earth glide, In which every sound, and odour, and beam, Move, as reeds in a single stream;
Each and all like ministering angels were For the Sensitive Plant sweet joy to bear, Whilst the lagging hours of the day went by Like windless clouds o'er a tender sky.
And when evening descended from Heaven above, And the Earth was all rest, and the air was all love, And delight, though less bright, was far more deep, And the day's veil fell from the world of sleep,
And the beasts, and the birds, and the insects were drowned In an ocean of dreams without a sound; Whose waves never mark, though they ever impress The light sand which paves it, consciousness;
(Only overhead the sweet nightingale Ever sang more sweet as the day might fail, And snatches of its Elysian chant Were mixed with the dreams of the Sensitive Plant);-
The Sensitive Plant was the earliest Upgathered into the bosom of rest; A sweet child weary of its delight, The feeblest and yet the favourite, Cradled within the embrace of Night.
NOTES: _6 Like the Spirit of Love felt 1820; And the Spirit of Love felt 1839, 1st edition; And the Spirit of Love fell 1839, 2nd edition. _49 and of moss]and moss Harvard manuscript. _82 The]And the Harvard manuscript.