WITHIN the garden's peaceful scene,
Appear'd two lovely foes,
Aspiring to the rank of queen,—
The Lily and the Rose.
The Rose soon redden'd with rage:
And swelling with disdain,
Appeal'd to many a poet's page,
To prove her right to reign.
The Lily's height bespoke command,
A fair imperial flower;
She seemed designed for Flora's hand,
The sceptre of her power.
This civil bickering and debate,
The goddess chanced to hear,
And flew to save ere yet too late,
The pride of the parterre.
"Yours is," she said, "the nobler hue,
And yours the statelier mien;
And, till a third surpasses you,
Let each be deemed a queen.
Let no mean jealousies pervert your mind,
A blemish in another's fame to find;
Be grateful for the gifts that you possess.
Nor deem a rival's merit makes yours less.