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The Flower of the Desert

Felicia Dorothea Hemans 1793 (Liverpool, Lancashire) – 1835 (Dublin, County Dublin)

"Who does not recollect the exultation of Vaillant over a flower in the torrid wastes of Africa?—The affecting mention of the influence of a flower upon his mind, by Mungo Park, in a time of suffering and despondency, in the heart of the same savage country, is familiar to every one."—Howitt's Book of the Seasons.

Why art thou thus in thy beauty cast,
O lonely, loneliest flower!
Where the sound of song hath never pass'd,
From human hearth or bower?

I pity thee, for thy heart of love,
For thy glowing heart, that fain
Would breathe out joy with each wind to rove—
In vain, lost thing! in vain!

I pity thee for thy wasted bloom,
For thy glory's fleeting hour,
For the desert place, thy living tomb—
O lonely, loneliest flower!

I said,—but a low voice made reply:
"Lament not for the flower!
Though its blossom all unmark'd must die,
They have had a glorious dower

"Though it bloom afar from the minstrel's way
And the paths where lovers tread,
Yet strength and hope, like an inborn day,
By its odours have been shed.

"Yes! dews more sweet than ever fell
O'er island of the blest,
Were shaken forth, from its perfumed bell,
On a suffering human breast.

"A wanderer came, as a stricken deer,
O'er the waste of burning sand,
He bore the wound of an Arab spear,
He fled from a ruthless band.

"And dreams of home, in a troubled tide,
Swept o'er his darkening eye,
As he lay down by the fountain side,
In his mute despair to die.

"But his glance was caught by the desert's flower,
The precious boon of heaven!
And sudden hope, like a vernal shower,
To his fainting heart was given.

"For the bright flower spoke of One above;
Of the Presence, felt to brood,
With a spirit of pervading love,
O'er the wildest solitude.

"Oh! the seed was thrown these wastes among,
In a blest and gracious hour!
For the lorn one rose, in heart made strong,
By the lonely, loneliest flower!"
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Submitted by Madeleine Quinn on December 27, 2019

Modified by Madeleine Quinn

1:49 min read

Felicia Dorothea Hemans

Felicia Dorothea Hemans was an English poet. Two of her opening lines, "The boy stood on the burning deck" and "The stately homes of England", have acquired classic status. more…

All Felicia Dorothea Hemans poems | Felicia Dorothea Hemans Books

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