Pine, Rose and Fleur de Lis

by Susie Frances Harrison




The Lark at dawn, the Nightingale at eve
Conspire to make it beautiful. I had dreamed
Of some such Beauty—lo! it rose around me
More exquisite than any dream, more fair,
Than even the favourite dreams of cherished children,
And what those are—how strange, how sweet, how rare,
We all remember—when a touch, a sound,
       Startles us, and we look
Backwards—ten, twenty, thirty, forty years.
       Yet fairer even than those
       Cloud-visions capped with rose,
My England—with her abbeys framed in green;
Gray Tintern set not too far from the sea
By subtle monks, safe in its rim of hills,
And gayer Furness, clad in mellow reds
That glimmer warm through many an ivy-mat,
And tall cathedrals with shimmering spires,
       That hang over hut and hall,
       And satin poppies, scarlet, wild,
Clasped in the hands of the labourer’s child,
And tangled cottage gardens gaily drest
In all their rustic Sunday summer best.
       O blame them not who evermore
       Upon a cold colonial shore
Feel their hearts burn within them at the thought
Of all that Beauty! Let it be said of such—
Not that they loved their Canada the less
But only—England—the more. Let it be said
Of them, that nature did so feed their souls
With all that was grand, illimitable, potent, fresh,
That poesy failed them. Nature was all in all;
Too self-sufficing, strong, relentless, masterful,
To aid the human spirit. Then there stole
From English valleys, leafy lanes, high hills,
From sloping uplands, farms and lichened towers,
From roofless ruins gracious in decay—
Something—a sentiment, aspiration, wish—
That soothed, inspired at once, that gave for wild
Dissatisfaction, peace. Dear England! I—
I have not—yet I fain had been—thy child!



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