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The Lily of the Valley (Dunbar)

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For works with similar titles, see The Lily of the Valley.


     THE LILY OF THE VALLEY

Sweetest of the flowers a-blooming
  In the fragrant vernal days
Is the Lily of the Valley
  With its soft, retiring ways.

Well, you chose this humble blossom
  As the nurse's emblem flower,
Who grows more like her ideal
  Every day and every hour.

Like the Lily of the Valley
  In her honesty and worth,
Ah, she blooms in truth and virtue
  In the quiet nooks of earth.

Tho' she stands erect in honor
  When the heart of mankind bleeds,
Still she hides her own deserving
  In the beauty of her deeds.

In the silence of the darkness
  Where no eye may see and know,
There her footsteps shod with mercy,
  And fleet kindness come and go.

Not amid the sounds of plaudits,
  Nor before the garish day,
Does she shed her soul's sweet perfume,
  Does she take her gentle way.

But alike her ideal flower,
  With its honey-laden breath,
Still her heart blooms forth its beauty
  In the valley shades of death.

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.