The Lily of the Valley

Mr Flaxman

To a Lady on Her Birthday

Sweet modest flower, thy drooping head,
Doth to my fancy say,
I’d teach humility to man,
Learn this, and go thy way:
No gaudy colours thee deform,
Nor kindle vain desires,
Thy dress unsullied, snowy white,
Such as the angel choirs.
Fair to my eye, dear to my mind,
How should I hapless mourn,
If driving rain or blustering wind,
Should tear thee from the lawn — 

The sky was clear, the bright sun rose,
The birds began their melody,
The feather’d choir flew here and there,
And fill’d the air with harmony,
The cherub prince of plants and flowers
Came forth to give his charge,
The sylphic sprites from bush and shrub
Peep’d out to hear his will at large.
Attend says he each to his task,
As ye have done before,
But watch with a peculiar care
O’er this my favorite flower;
When thunders roll, and boreas roars,
And loud in the tempest sings,
There compass it with mystic spells
And cover it with your wings.
Thus shall it rest by your defence
And emblem still of spotless innocence.