Ah, though it is an English flower,
It only groweth here and there,
Through merry England you might ride,
Through all its length from side to side,
Through fifty counties, nor have spied
This flower so passing fair.
But in these meadows it is growing.
And now it is the early spring,
And see! from out the kindly earth
How thousands issue forth!
As if it gloried to give birth
To such a lovely thing.
Like lilac-flame its colour glows,
Tender, and yet so claerly bright,
That all for miles and miles about
The slendid meadow shineth out
And far-off village children shout
To see the welcome sight.
I love the odorous hawthorn-flower,
I love the wilding's bloom to see
I love the light anemones,
That tremble to the faintest breeze
And hyacinth-like orchises
Are very dear to me!
The star-wort is a fairy flower
The violet is a thing to prize
The wild pink on the craggy ledge,
The waving sword-like water sedge,
And e'en the Robin-run-in-th'-hedge,
Are precious in mine eyes.
Yes, yes, I love them all, bright things!
But then, such glorious flowers as these
Are dearer still. I'll tell you why:
There's a joy in many and many an eye
When first goes forth the welcome cry
Of 'Lo the Crocuses!'
Then little toiling children leave
Their care, and here by thousands throng,
And through the shining meadow run,
And gather them, not one by one,
But by grasped handfuls, where are none
To say that they do wrong.
They run, they leap, they shout for joy,
They bring their infant bretheren here,
They fill each little pinafore
They bear their baskets brimming o'er,
Within their very hearts they store
This first joy of the year.
Yes, joy in these abundant meadows
Pours out like to the earth's o'erflowing
And, less that they are beautiful
Than that they are so plentiful,
So free for every child to pull,
I love to see them growing.
And here, in our own fields they grow -
An English flower, but very rare,
Through all the kingdom you may ride
O'er marshy flat, on mountain side,
Nor ever see, outstretching wide,
Such flowery meadows fair!