[Page 171]


1 HIGH o'er the bed, conspicuous seen,
2 A Tulip rose, the garden's queen.
3 Never on Holland's foggy strand
4 Was taller rear'd by Dutchman's hand:
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5 Never was Flora known t' imprint
6 On Tulip's leaf a brighter tint,
7 Or lead with more fantastic freak,
8 On Tulip's leaf the varying streak.
9 Beneath the tow'ring Tulip's shade,
10 In nought but simple white array'd,
11 And shelter'd from th' intruding view,
12 A Lily of the valley grew;
13 The humblest plant of all the train
14 That deck the mountain or the plain,
15 Or on the river's margin blow,
16 And paint the dancing scene below.
17 Unenvying she the praise could hear
18 Of finer flow'rs that flaunted near:
19 And she could see without a sigh
20 The saucy Zephyr pass her by,
21 To woo the Pink, more gayly drest,
22 Or pant upon the Rose's breast.
23 It chanc'd upon a May-day morn,
24 When blossoms crowd the whitening thorn,
25 With more than usual lustre bright,
26 The genial God of heat and light,
27 Thro' the blue heavens pursu'd his course,
28 And shone with more than Summer force.
29 Each flow'r that glow'd in bright array
30 Witness'd the life-imparting day:
31 The Tulip too, above the rest,
32 The vig'rous warmth with joy confest.
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33 What transport in her bosom swell'd,
34 Each varying streak when she beheld
35 Withdraw from the pursuing eye,
36 And shift into the neighb'ring dye!
37 The Lily's charms, and humbler state,
38 She view'd with boundless joy elate;
39 And thus unable to refrain,
40 Broke out in contumelious strain:
41 "How vary, midst the garden's race,
42 " The marks of bounteous Nature's grace!
43 "How boasts th' imperial Tulip's flow'r
44 " The effort of her vig'rous pow'r!
45 "Who e'er could view without surprise,
46 " Th' expanded leaf, and glossy dyes!
47 "The colours that together run,
48 " And wave and brighten in the sun!
49 "Whilst she that blossoms in my shade,
50 " As tho' to spring from earth afraid,
51 "No leaf expands, nor dye displays,
52 " Nor wins surprise, nor merits praise.
53 "Behold yon butterfly so sine,
54 " Whose brightness almost equals mine,
55 "That hovers o'er the gay parterre,
56 " And hangs on wav'ring wings in air;
57 "What tho' from flow'r to flow'r he sport,
58 " And pay to all a passing court;
59 "In vain with deepen'd tints they glow,
60 " And fletter to the flutt'ring bean,
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61 "In vain each envious rival burns,
62 " To kindred finery still he turns,
63 "On me at length delights to rest,
64 " And spread his plumage o'er my breast. "
65 To these proud taunts, and more beside,
66 The Lily not a word replied,
67 But hung her head with modest grace,
68 Nor look'd th' insulter in the face.
69 Not so the Bee, who murmur'd near,
70 And chanc'd th' opprobrious strain to hear.
71 Ill-pleas'd to see the flow'r neglected,
72 Which she so honour'd and respected!
73 From whose full cup she daily drew
74 So large a share of precious dew;
75 Whilst from her high and mighty neighbour
76 She scarcely got what paid her labour;
77 Thus, settled on the Lily's breast,
78 Her indignation she exprest:
79 "And whence proceeds the haughty strain,
80 " Thou flow'r, so useless, and so vain!
81 "Forget you, then, from whence you sprung,
82 " The tawdry child of sordid dung!
83 "What tho' in varying colours bright,
84 " You glare awhile upon the sight;
85 "The transient hour of blooming o'er,
86 " Your faded charms attract no more,
87 "And all your finery quite forgot:
88 " Unmarkt you wither, and you rot.
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89 "Now hither turn but your reflection,
90 " You'll kiss the rod of my correction.
91 "This flow'r, on whom so rude you prest,
92 " In Nature's simplest cloathing drest,
93 "From her our num'rous tribes derive
94 " The choicest sweets that store the hive:
95 "And she, meek daughter of the vale,
96 " That growing scents the passing gale,
97 "Not less revives the ravish'd sense,
98 " When rooted and remov'd from hence.
99 "On Chloe's breast still seen to blow,
100 " Adds whiteness to the dazzling snow:
101 "And dealing sweetness, tho' in death,
102 " Perfumes e'en Chloe's fragrant breath. "


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): THE TULIP AND LILY.
Author: James Barclay
Themes: nature
References: DMI 32581

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Source edition

A collection of poems in four volumes. By several hands. Vol. III. [The second edition]. London: printed for G. Pearch, 1770, pp. 171-175. 4v. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T116245; DMI 1136)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

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