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 !