The children played at naming, every one
Her favorite blossom, in the mild June even;
When, at the last, the others having done,
A little maid—her years but numbered seven—
Stood shyly forth and answered in her turn:
"Pale violets I love,—and love full well
Red poppies, which the elves for torches burn,—
But for my own I choose—the asphodel."
Indignant stared the children; then they cried—
Amid their pastime ready still for strife—
"The asphodel! You only choose through pride
A flower you never saw in all your life!"
Abashed, the culprit hung her pretty head,
As she accusèd of a crime had been;
Then, bravely, with conviction sweet she said:—
"But I love best the flower I have not seen!"
Ah, wistful child! Such lonely dreams as thine
Others have cherished in their hearts, I ween,—
And, grateful for all good, with thee incline
To love the best the flower they have not seen!
I've brought you some flowers, mother!
Please look at them, mother, look!
See this one!—and here's another
I found beside the brook!
They're very warm, for I held them tight;
You'll want them, I know, to keep,
When they wake again and you see them right,—
But now they're all asleep.