Tuesday, February 24, 2015


I SAW it in my evening walk,
A little lonely flower!
Under a hollow bank it grew,
Deep in a mossy bower.

An oak’s gnarl’d root, to roof the cave
With Gothic fretwork sprung,
Whence jewell’d fern, and arum leaves,
And ivy garlands hung.

And from beneath came sparkling out
From a fallen tree’s old shell,
A little rill, that dipt about
The lady in her cell.

And there, methought, with bashful pride,
She seem’d to sit and look
On her own maiden loveliness
Pale imaged in the brook.

No other flower—no rival grew
Beside my pensive maid;
She dwelt alone, a cloister’d nun,
In solitude and shade.

No sunbeam on that fairy well
Darted its dazzling light—
Only, methought, some clear, cold star
Might tremble there at night.

No ruffling wind could reach her there—
No eye, methought, but mine,
Or the young lamb’s that came to drink,
Had spied her secret shrine.

And there was pleasantness to me
In such belief. Cold eyes
That slight dear Nature’s lowliness,
Profane her mysteries.

Long time I looked and linger’d there,
Absorb’d in still delight—
My spirit drank deep quietness
In, with that quiet sight.
- Caroline (Bowles) Southey, "The Primrose" (1787–1854)

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