Thursday, March 24, 2016

Easter Flowers

Easter Flowers Lilies Victorian Illustration

“We are going to church,” smiled the lily;
“We are going to church,” smiled the rose;
“Then I certainly think,” said the pert little pink,
“We should wear our prettiest clothes. 

“So, heliotrope, put on your lilac;
And crocus, your bright yellow vest;
Sweet violets. You must wear bonnets of blue
While the rose shall in crimson be dressed. 
“Our lily shall don her white satin, 
And in white, too, They could be seen.
While the hyacinth fair shall wear pink in her hair;
And the smiles have ribbons of green." 

Then the bright Easter lily looked upward,
While her smile the whole garden illumed.
"Oh, dear little sister; there ne're had been Easter
If passion-flowers never had bloomed."  
The church bells were joyfully ringing
When out of the garden they passed.
And down through the porch and into the church;
Till they came to the altar at last. 
They climbed over archway and pillar,
They nestled in baskets of moss;
The rose found a place in a beautiful vase, 
And the passion-flower clung to a cross. 
And they swayed to the breeze of the organ,
That sent its great throb through the air;
When "Landamus" was sung all their censers they swung.
And they nodded "Amen" to each prayer. 
They smiled in response to the children, 
So like them in innocent grace.
When the sermon was reached and the minister preached.
They all looked him straight in the face. 
“Oh my people,” he said, speaking softly,
Looking down on the listening throng,
"On this day of all days it is meet we give praise,
With offerings of flowers and glad song. 
“But desolate homes are around us  
Where dwell the distressed and forlorn,
Their carol a strain full of discord and pain,
Their lily of Easter a thorn.
“Go forth, O beloved, and find them,
Your hearts with pure love all aglow;
E'en the lowliest flower that fades in an hour
The Lord's resurrection may show." 
The great congregation departed;
The flowers looked around in surprise.
"And must we stay here?" said the rose, while a tear
bedimmed yellow daffodil's eyes. 
“I think we’ve a message to carry,”
Was the heliotrope's gentle reply.
"But how can we know to what places to go?"
Said the gay little pink, with a sigh. 
A flutter, a rustle, a whisper,
A step light and fleet as a fawn,
And, behold standing close by the royal red rose
Was a child with a face like the dawn.  
The angels to both are akin,
And without spoken word
all the bright blossoms heard
Where the dear little maiden had been. 
She told them a wonderful secret.
They blushed with exquisite delight;
With tremulous haste down the long aisle they passed,
Until they were lost to the sight. 
The heliotrope found a dark cellar,
A home of grim want and despair;
The white pink was led to a hospital bed,
And a rose climbed a rickety stair.  
The daffodil followed a beggar;
By its side the hyacinth pressed;
The violets crept where a dear baby slept,
And laid themselves down on its breast. 
The passion-flower caught on its purple
The tears which an erring one shed;
In a dark, shrouded room Easter lilies bloom
Waved their banner of hope o'er the dead. 
A dream of the fancy you call it?
Some dreams have a touch that's divine;
And a child's simple act may turn fancy to fact
In fulfilling his vision of mine.  

                      Easter Flowers By Mary B. Waterman                         
 Published in Harper’s Young People, March 27, 1888.  
Illustrated by Jessie Shepherd, “Easter Flowers”