The Language Of Flowers

By Charles Fenno Hoffman

Teach thee their language! sweet, I know no tongue.
No mystic art those gentle things declare,
I ne’er could trace the schoolman’s trick among
Created things, so delicate and rare:
Their language? Prythee! why they are themselves
But bright thoughts syllabled to shape and hue,
The tongue that erst was spoken by the elves.
When tenderness as yet within the world was new.

And oh, do not their soft and starry eyes —
Now bent to earth, to heaven now meekly pleading—
Their incense fainting as it seeks the skies,
Yet still from earth with freshening hope receding —
Say, do not these to every heart declare.
With all the silent eloquence of truth.
The language that they speak is Nature’s prayer.
To give her back those spotless days of youth?

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