Where the swift brook runs downward to the sea
Through the dark woods that border Norman's Woe,
Rippling with joy or stealing silently,
There cardinal-flowers in stately clusters grow.
They seem in their calm beauty to uprear
Their haughty heads, and blush with conscious pride,
As if the mosses, ferns and all things near
Were but as slaves and vassals at their side.
The cool, green depths where nature seems asleep,
Their passionate color fills with warmth and grace,
Till thoughts of regal pomp and splendor come;
And gazing on their hue so rich and deep
I seem to see, as in a vision, pass
Some gorgeous pageant through the streets of Rome.