“The Queen of Flowers” by James Gates Percival

by Ann Neilson

The Queen of Flowers
James Gates Percival
From Poems by James Gates Percival, 1823

+++I AM the light fantastic queen of flowers;
I call the wind-rose from its bed of snow,
I pour upon the springing turf soft showers,
I paint the buds of jasmine, when they blow,
I give the violet leaf its tender blue,
I dip its cup in night’s unsullied tears,
So that it shines with richer glances through,
Like beauty heightened by a maiden’s fears;
Around the elm’s green arch I freely twine
The wooing tendrils of the clasping vine,
And when the vernal air is fresh with dew,
And the new sward with drops bedighted o’er,
I lend the butter-cup its golden hue,
That glitters like a leaf of molten ore;
I dress the lily in its veil of lawn
Whiter than foam upon the crested wave,
Pure as the spirit parted from its grave,
When every stain, that earth had left, is gone,
Shining beneath the mellow sun of May,
Like pearls fresh-gathered from their glossy shells,
Or tints, that on the pigeon’s plumage play,
When filled with love his tender bosom swells;
I throw Aurora o’er the cup of gold,
The tulip lifts to catch the tears of Heaven,
Gay as the cloud, whose ever-changing fold
Heralds the dawn, and proudly curtains even;
I take the rainbow, as it glides away
To mingle with the pure unshaded sky,
And melting in one drop its bright array,
I pour it in the crown-imperial’s eye;
I weave the silken fringe, that, as a vest,
Mantles the fleur de lys in glossy down,
I scatter gold spots on its open breast,
And lift in slender points of blue its crown:
I am the light fantastic queen of flowers,
My bed is in the bosom of a rose,
And there I sweetly dream the moon-light hours,
While vermeil curtains round my pillow close.