The Flowers




"To our private taste, there is always something a little exotic,
almost artificial, in songs which, under an English aspect and dress,
are yet so manifestly the product of other skies. They affect us
like translations; the very fauna and flora are alien, remote;
the dog's-tooth violet is but an ill substitute for the rathe primrose,
nor can we ever believe that the wood-robin sings as sweetly
in April as the English thrush."
'THE ATHENAEUM'.



BUY my English posies
Kent and Surrey may
Violets of the Undercliff
Wet with Channel spray;
Cowslips from a Devon combe
Midland furze afire
Buy my English posies
And I'll sell your heart's desire !


Buy my English posies!
You that scorn the May,
Won't you greet a friend from home
Half the world away ?
Green against the draggled drift,
Faint and frail but first
Buy my Northern blood-root
And I'll know where you were nursed !

Robin down the logging-road whistles, " Come to me!
Spring has found the maple-grove, the sap is running free.
All the winds of Canada call the ploughing-rain.
Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again !

Buy my English posies !
Here's to match your need
Buy a tuft of royal heath,
Buy a bunch of weed
White as sand of Muisenberg
Spun before the gale
Buy my heath and lilies
And I'll tell you whence you hail !

Under hot Constantia broad the vineyards lie
Throned and thorned the aching berg props the speckless sky -
Slow below the Wynberg firs trails the tilted wain
Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again !

Buy my English posies !
You that will not turn
Buy my hot-wood clematis,
Buy a frond o' fern
Gathered where the Erskine leaps
Down the road to Lorne
Buy my Christmas creeper
And I'll say where you were born !

West away from Melbourne dust holidays begin
They that mock at Paradise woo at Cora Lynn
Through the great South Otway gums sings the great South Main
Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again !

Buy my English posies !
Here's your choice unsold !
Buy a blood-red myrtle-bloom,
Buy the kowhai's gold
Flung for gift on Taupo's face,
Sign that spring is come
Buy my clinging myrtle
And I'll give you back your home !

Broom behind the windy town, pollen of the pine
Bell-bird in the leafy deep where the ratas twine
Fern above the saddle-bow, flax upon the plain
Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again !

Buy my English posies!
Ye that have your own
Buy them for a brother's sake
Overseas, alone!
Weed ye trample underfoot
Floods his heart abrim
Bird ye never heeded,
Oh, she calls his dead to him !

Far and far our homes are set round the Seven Seas;
Woe for us if we forget we who hold by these!
Unto each his mother-beach, bloom and bird and land
Masters of the Seven Seas, oh, love and understand !