The Floral Senate

Miss Porden

Far, far unbosom’d in an eastern vale
 Shaded by myrtle groves there stands a bow’r
Fanned ever by the gentle western gale
 The house of Parliament for every flow’r

There each deputed loveliest of its kind,
 In all its summer glory comes arrayed;
To represent the race it left behind,
 And sit securely in the friendly shade.

There every flower that drinks the dew of morn,
 Or hails with opening sweets th’ approach of light;
There every shrub that does the Earth adorn,
 In Senate meet th’ enraptured gazer’s sight.

One day assembled by the Lily fair,
 In consultation all the Flow’rets met;
He rising with a mild but stately air,
 Commenced th’ important business of debate.

“Children of Flora now assembled here,
 Ye lovely fav’rites of indulgent heaven,
To whom o’er other tribes without compeer,
 The charms of beauty, and of scent are given.”

“From Zephyrus ye sure e’er this have heard,
 What all the brute creation are about
How ev’ry insect, quadruped, or bird
 Of any note, has given a feast or rout.”

“How first the Grasshopper or Butterfly,
 With their fine feasts and balls the mode began,
How through the birds e’en to the chattering pie,
 With added forces the vain infection can:”

“How next the quadrupeds their art assay’d;
 The Elephant his routs began to give,
He sanctioned by a royal masquerade
 Attended by each beast of ton alive.”

“The fishes gala next attracts our eye,
 Where sportive Nereids wreaths of sea flow’rs wove,
Where Neptune on his throne of majesty,
 Sate in the shade of his own coral grove.”

“Now since my honourable friends ’tis ours
 Selected by the people’s fav’ring voice,
To guide the actions of the race of flow’rs,
 Now let us prove we’re worthy of their choice.”

“The Flowers impatient wish a Fete to give
 And wait the sanction of our mighty name,
Yet shall my friends the floral honour live
 But by a dance or rout reveal’d to fame,”

“Things that are noble are the work of one
 With us the custom dies if we ordain
No honour ’tis to do what all have done
The last support of fashion’s galling train.”

“But if we as the Peers of Flora’s state,
 Decree nor feast, nor rout, nor Call to give,
Then shall our nation be more truly great,
 Renown’d for temperance, our name shall live.”

He spoke and sat; from all the floral kind
 A gentle murmur of applause arose,
Like that when ruffled by the Western wind
 With speed encreas’d the purple oceans flows.

The next arose the Everlasting Sea,
The firm supporter of his noble friend;
With air of mingle grace and dignity,
 That bade in silence all his speech attend.

“My friend, who spoke the last,” he thus began,
 “Has chose a theme that must attention claim
A subject near concerning every one,
 Who has an interest in the floral fame.”

“And sure I think more honour will derive
On us, on all the Peers of Flora’s State,
If our majority decree to give,
 Nor masquerade, nor ball, nor rout, nor fete.”

He spoke with grace that much attention found.
 The Poppy next his beauteous form display’d,
This robe was white with crimson fring’d around1
 And crown’d with sable stamina his head.

Fair was his form, majestic as he rose,
 (His figure would have grac’d the floral dance)
But used to cover with alluring glaze
 Whatever tenets he might e’er advance.

“My friends and shall the lordly Lily find
 Your prompt support in this his task,” he cried
“O! view the question with impartial mind,
 And having view’d it competent decide.”

“Shall each ignoble butterfly or beast,
 Present but late at their respective ball,
Think us unable to direct a feast,
 No ’twere disgraceful to the flow’rets all.”

“And shall they boast that we a vulgar race
 To equal them e’en dare not to aspire,
Content in silence, fearful of disgrace,
 Their taste and wit to envy and admire.”

“Ah no my honourable friends! your worth
 Here must not slumber, rather at the call
Of fair occasion draw your talents forth;
 Devise some fete more new than feast or ball.”

“Then shall your honour hide their rising fame,
 As brighter Cynthea each surrounding star;
Then! then! shall poets sing the floral name,
 And with their own your praise shall spread afar.”

He spoke, and thus the Lily fair replied
 “Have you forgot my friend, each bird or beast
With all their arrogance, & pomp, & pride,
 Have always needed us to deck their feast.”

“The Peacock when he gave his famous rout,
 Implor’d th’ assistance of full many a flower
The Rose decked all the bushes round about
 The Woodbine drest the variegated bower.”

“The Nymphea alba for the fishes wove
 Their wreaths and round the lucid columns twin’d;
Or the transparent throne, where in his grove
The mighty Neptune then his limbs reclin’d.”

“Whatever fete we give, will they not say
 It is an imitation of their own
And ’tis a fashion of which I should say
 The breach gives honour, the observance none.”

“I do not wish your suffrages to guide,
 Or let my name convince a single Peer.
Upon the case impartially decide
 Then let the Nation that decision hear”

The Speaker Hollyhock bids the house divide.
 The Acapanthus, fragrant Mignionetter,
And his own brethren with the Lily side,
 The Peas, the Pinks and the Carnation sweet.

And all the Roses. For the Poppy gay
 Vote his own tribe, the bright Sweet Williams too,
The Sunflower who pursues the source of day,
 Coxcombs and many a flower of gaudy hue.

The rest I know not: but the most declare
 Their wish does with the Lily coincide,
Which much surprised the Poppy gay and fair
 Who thought they needs must for the Dance decide.


This Poem the Author proposes to revise and complete on a more extended Plan.

  1. This perhaps although not the most shewy is by far the most graceful and beautiful of the Poppies.