Littell's Living Age/Volume 150/Issue 1942/Lines on a White Cyclamen Brought from Jerusalem
Young blossom! delicately pure and fair,
Ere sunshine’s touch hath warmed the snow-chilled sod;
How comest thou to this grim northern air,
Flower from the land of God?
Not to our clime, oh petals pale and sweet,
Are ye akin, — our realms of strife and pain, —
Nor born to be down-trodden under feet
Still hurrying after gain;
Thy home is on each holy mountain-side,
O’er plains filled with the wind-flower’s flaming gleam,
O’er dells where the massed oleanders hide,
In rose clouds the blue stream.
Thou bringest back those deathless moments when
Thy native heaven grew strong with solemn powers,
And breathest here — a type of other men,
And other lives, than ours.
Yes! above all, thy leaflets fresh and white,
White as the unreached snows that never wane,
Recall the man who walked thy hills in light,
That spirit without stain.
For, whilst thy virgin grace above may show
How spotless his clear life, the tinge of red
Beneath that purity is whispering low
Of blood for sinners shed.
So that, whene’er within us is renewed
The thought how worn by long unsleeping hours,
He moved across thy Syrian solitude,
Through a wild wealth of flowers;
We feel that he, sustained by love alone,
Was there to commune with white stars, and greet
More than all growths by spring around him thrown,
Thy white pearls at his feet.
And hence we dream, if dreams may thus presume,
No fire-flash poured from the anemone,
No oleander’s hot and eager bloom,
Spoke to his heart like thee.
Bring then to winters withering up with cold,
A balm lent from thy south — To souls that pine
Here hunger-bitten with the lust of gold,
Memories and hopes divine.