Flower Poetry Fridays: The Early Frost

Welcome back to Flower Poetry Fridays with Mrs. Sigourney. Each Friday a new poem will be posted from her The Voice Of Flowers.


King Frost Visits the Mountain
King Frost Visits the Mountain

MY flowers,—my few and precious flowers,
     what evil hath been here ?
Came the fierce Frost-King forth last night, so
     secret and severe?
I saw you last with diamond dew fresh on
     each beauteous head,
And little deem’d to find ye thus, all desolate
     and dead.

White Poppy, tall and full of pride, whose pe-
     tals’ feathery grace
With fully rounded orb has decked my simple
     parlor vase ;
Thy oozing buds disclose the gum, that swells
     Hygeia’s store,
But the sleep of death is on thee now, thy
     magic spell is o’er.

Alas, my brave Crysanthemum, how crisp thou
     art, and sere ;
Thou wert, perchance, too lightly prized, when
     gaudier friends were near ;
Yet, like a hero didst thou rise, to meet the
     spoiler’s dart,
And battle, till the pure life-blood ran curdling
     round thy heart.

My poor Sweet-Pea, my constant friend,
     whene’er I sought in vain
To twine a full bouquet for one who pressed
     the couch of pain ;
Or when my garden sometimes failed my man-
     tel-piece to dress,
Thou always gav’st a hoarded gem, to help me
     in distress.

Pansy Escaped the Frost King
Pansy Escaped the Frost King

But thou, dear lonely Pansy, thus smiling in
     my path,
I marvel much how thou hast scap’d the ty-
     rant’s deadly wrath ;
Didst thou hide beneath thy neighbor’s robe,
     so flaunting and so fine,
To bid one sad good-morning more, and press
     thy lips to mine ?

Good bye, my pretty flowering Bean, that with
     a right good will,
O’er casement, arch and trellis went climbing,
     climbing still,
Till the stern destroyer marked thee, and in
     his bitter ire,
Quenched out thy many scarlet spikes that
     glowed like living fire.

Pale, pale Snowberry, all is gone ; I would it
     were not so,
Methinks the Woodbine near thee hath felt a
     lighter woe ;
Lean, lean upon her sheltering arm, thy latest
     pang to take,
And yield to autumn’s stormy will, till happi-
     er seasons wake.

Coarse Marigold, in days of yore, I scorned thy
     tawny face,
But since my plants are frail and few, I’ve
     gave thee welcome place,
And thou, tall London-pride ! my son from
     weeds preserved thy stem,
And, for his sake, I sigh to see thy fallen dia-

I have no costly Dahlias, nor greenhouse flow-
     ers to weep,
But I passed the rich man’s garden, and the
     mourning there was deep,
For the crownless queens, all drooping, hung
     amid the wasted sod,
Like Boadicea, bent with shame, beneath the
     Roman rod.

‘Tis hard to say farewell, my plants, ’tis hard
     to say farewell ;
The florist might despise ye, yet your worth I
     cannot tell ;
For at rising sun, or even-tide, in sorrow or in
Your fragrant lips have ever op’d, to speak
     good words to me.

Most dear ye were to him who died, when
     summer round ye play’d,
That good old man, who looked with love on
     all that God had made ;
Who, when his first familiar friends sank
     down in dreamless rest,
Took nature’s green and living things more
     closely to his breast.

My blessed sire, we bore his chair at early
     summer morn,
That he might sit among your bowers and see
     your blossoms born ;
While meek and placid smiles around his rev-
     erend features played,
The language of that better land, where ye no
     more shall fade.

Shall I see you, once again, sweet flowers,
     when Spring returneth fair,
To strew her breathing incense upon the
     balmy air?
Will you lift to me your infant heads? For
     me with fragrance swell?
Alas ! why should I ask you thus, what is not
     yours to tell.

I know, full well, before your buds shall hail
     the vernal sky,
That many a younger, brighter brow, beneath
     the clods must lie ;
And if my pillow should be there, still come
     in beauty free,
And show my little ones the love that you have
     borne to me.

Yea, come in all your glorious pomp, ambas-
     sadors, to show
The truth of those eternal words that on God’s
     pages glow,
The bursting of the icy tomb, the rising of the
In robes of beauty and of light, all stainless
     from the dust.

Mrs. Sigourney mourns her beautiful flowers after the Frost-King makes his appearance – love that name, by the way.

When that first hard frost comes the growing season is over for the year. Frost IS King.

She eulogizes her favorite posies that will no longer give smiles this season…the White Poppy, Crysanthemum, Sweet-Pea, flowering Bean, Snowberry.

The Pansy was the notable exception as it failed to be killed by the early frost. Isn’t it a curiosity as to how it survived? Indeed!

By the end of the poem she rejoices in knowing that younger flower buds to be are waiting for their time to burst out of the ground.

Even if Mrs. Sigourney herself was not alive to see the new flowers next Spring, she took comfort that the future generations of flowers would be there to show her children the love that these flowers — now bowing their heads from the early frost — gave to her.

Come back next Friday for the next installment in our series of flower poems from Mrs. Sigourney’s The Voice of Flowers, “The Stranger’s Flower”.

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