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A Contemplation Upon Flowers

Henry King

Brave flowers—that I could gallant it like you,
      And be as little vain!
You come abroad, and make a harmless show,
      And to your beds of earth again.
You are not proud: you know your birth:
For your embroider’d garments are from earth.

You do obey your months and times, but I
      Would have it ever Spring:
My fate would know no Winter, never die,
      Nor think of such a thing.
O that I could my bed of earth but view
And smile, and look as cheerfully as you!

O teach me to see Death and not to fear,
      But rather to take truce!
How often have I seen you at a bier,
      And there look fresh and spruce!
You fragrant flowers! then teach me, that my breath
Like yours may sweeten and perfume my death.
Online text © 1998-2014 Poetry X. All rights reserved.
From The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250-1900 | Clarendon, 1919
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