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Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling

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 ATHEN]AEUM.
 
 
 
     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 Muizenberg
     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.

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