Welcome back to Flower Poetry Fridays with Mrs. Sigourney. Each Friday a new poem will be posted from her The Voice Of Flowers.
MINERVA, a visit to Flora once made,
When the flowers, in a body, their compliments
And, charmed with their manners, and elegant
Desired she might give to the fairest a prize ;
Appointing a day, when herself should preside,
And on their pretensions to beauty decide.
Then the Rose bridled up, with a confident
As if she would say,— Who with me shall com-
While the Lily, but newly come out as a bride,
Whisper’d low to her sisters, and laugh’d at
The Hyacinth studied her wardrobe with care,
Still puzzled to settle what colors to wear ;
The Poppy, ashamed of her dull, sleepy eyes,
Wore a new scarlet dress, with a view to the
Then flock’d the Anemones, fair to behold,
With the rich Polyanthus, in velvet, and gold ;
And the Tulip came flaunting, and waving her
And turned up her nose at the Daffodil clan.
The buds who were thought by their mothers
Round their sister’s toilettes discontentedly
There was teazing, and dressing, and prinking
The pretty Quill-Daisies each bought a new
The stately Carnations stood frizzing their hair,
And the tall London-pride, choosing feathers
The Pink at her mirror was ready to drop,
And the Snow-ball bought rouge at a milliner’s
While in the same square, at a shoe-store so
The trim Lady-Slippers were pinching their
Thrifty Lilac acknowledg’d her robe was not
But with turning and furbishing thought it
might do ;
While the queer Ragged-Lady, who pass’d for
Sat darning her hose, and wish’d no one to
know it ;
And Fox-Glove, who sometimes had furnished
Was tying new bows on a fanciful bonnet.
The green-house exotics, in chariots, went by,
For their delicate nerves feared each frown of
While from her low cottage of moss on the
The Violet look’d up and admired the bright
Not thinking to join in a circle so gay,
Or dreaming that she had a charm to display ;
Beside a sick bud she preferred to attend,
Which down to the dust its pale forehead would
But judge how this splendid conventicle stared,
When Minerva the prize to the Violet declar’d !
Remarking, though beauties and graces were
That " Modesty ever to her was most fair. "
And distinctly pronounced, in the hearing of all,
That "the humble must rise, and the arrogant
The humble violet won the prize because of her modesty. She didn’t think she was fit to join in the parade of dazzling blooms and instead she performed the selfless act of caring for a dying friend.
There were a dozen other flowers who could have won the prize if it were only based on beauty. You know, the kind you see in a mirror.
Minerva equated arrogance with the flowers spending all their time and money to display their colorful robes. Instead, she chose modesty for her model of true beauty.
Modesty trumps beauty. Well, at least in poetry it can.
With air-brushed super models in every ad and Hollywood polluting our collective image of desirable qualities in people, we’re supposed to think that we too could look like that if we only tried their product. Yeah, right.
When you ask your mirror “Who is the fairest in the land?” are you seeking only outward beauty? Don’t worry, be happy! Beauty is only skin deep, as they say. The people who matter in your life will see you for the beauty you have that doesn’t reflect in a mirror.
Come back next Friday for the next installment in our series of flower poems from Mrs. Sigourney’s The Voice of Flowers, “King Frost and the Garden Beauties”.