The Primrose of the Rock
1A Rock there is whose homely front
2 The passing traveller slights;
3Yet there the glow-worms hang their lamps,
4 Like stars, at various heights;
5And one coy Primrose to that Rock
6 The vernal breeze invites.
7What hideous warfare hath been waged,
8 What kingdoms overthrown,
9Since first I spied that Primrose-tuft
10 And marked it for my own;
11A lasting link in Nature's chain
12 From highest heaven let down!
13The flowers, still faithful to the stems,
14 Their fellowship renew;
15The stems are faithful to the root,
16 That worketh out of view;
17And to the rock the root adheres
18 In every fibre true.
19Close clings to earth the living rock,
20 Though threatening still to fall:
21The earth is constant to her sphere;
22 And God upholds them all:
23So blooms this lonely Plant, nor dreads
24 Her annual funeral.
25Here closed the meditative strain;
26 But air breathed soft that day,
27The hoary mountain-heights were cheered,
28 The sunny vale looked gay;
29And to the Primrose of the Rock
30 I gave this after-lay.
31I sang-Let myriads of bright flowers,
32 Like Thee, in field and grove
33Revive unenvied;-mightier far,
34 Than tremblings that reprove
35Our vernal tendencies to hope,
36 Is God's redeeming love;
37That love which changed-for wan disease,
38 For sorrow that had bent
39O'er hopeless dust, for withered age-
40 Their moral element,
41And turned the thistles of a curse
42 To types beneficent.
43Sin-blighted though we are, we too,
44 The reasoning Sons of Men,
45From one oblivious winter called
46 Shall rise, and breathe again;
47And in eternal summer lose
48 Our threescore years and ten.
49To humbleness of heart descends
50 This prescience from on high,
51The faith that elevates the just,
52 Before and when they die;
53And makes each soul a separate heaven
54 A court for Deity.
RPO poem Editors:
W. J. Alexander; William Hall Clawson
RP (1916), pp. 230-31; RPO 1997.