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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Flower-Seller

By William Young (1847–1920)

[Wishmakers’ Town. 1885.]

MYRTLE, and eglantine,

For the old love, and the new!

And the columbine,

With its cap and bells, for folly!

And the daffodil, for the hopes of youth! and the rue,

For melancholy!

But of all the blossoms that blow,

Fair gallants all, I charge you to win, if you may,

This gentle guest,

Who dreams apart, in her wimple of purple and gray,

Like the blessed Virgin, with meek head bending low

Upon her breast.

For the orange flower

Ye may buy as ye will; but the violet of the wood

Is the love of maidenhood;

And he that hath worn it but once, though but for an hour,

He shall never again, though he wander by many a stream,

No, never again shall he meet with a flower that shall seem

So sweet and pure; and forever, in after years,

At the thought of its bloom, or the fragrance of its breath,

The past shall arise,

And his eyes shall be dim with tears,

And his soul shall be far in the gardens of Paradise,

Though he stand in the shambles of death.