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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Scotland: Vols. VI–VIII. 1876–79.

Sweden: Upsala

The Dial of Flowers

By Felicia Hemans (1793–1835)

  • This dial was, I believe, formed by Linnæus, and marked the hours by the opening and closing, at regular intervals, of the flowers arranged in it.

  • ’T WAS a lovely thought to mark the hours,

    As they floated in light away,

    By the opening and the folding flowers,

    That laugh to the summer’s day.

    Thus had each moment its own rich hue,

    And its graceful cup and bell,

    In whose colored vase might sleep the dew,

    Like a pearl in an ocean shell.

    To such sweet signs might the time have flowed

    In a golden current on,

    Ere from the garden, man’s first abode,

    The glorious guests were gone.

    So might the days have been brightly told—

    Those days of song and dreams—

    When shepherds gathered their flocks of old

    By the blue Arcadian streams.

    So in those isles of delight, that rest

    Far off in a breezeless main,

    Which many a bark, with a weary quest,

    Has sought, but still in vain.

    Yet is not life, in its real flight,

    Marked thus—even thus—on earth,

    By the closing of one hope’s delight,

    And another’s gentle birth?

    O, let us live, so that flower by flower,

    Shutting in turn, may leave

    A lingerer still for the sunset hour,

    A charm for the shaded eve.