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VI - The Small Celandine

Common Pilewort.

There is a Flower, the Lesser Celandine,
That shrinks, like many more, from cold and rain;
And, the first moment that the sun may shine,
Bright as the sun itself, 'tis out again!

When hailstones have been falling swarm on swarm,
Or blasts the green field and the trees distress'd,
Oft have I seen it muffled up from harm,
In close self-shelter, like a Thing at rest.

But lately, one rough day, this Flower I pass'd,
And recognized it, though an alter'd Form, 10
Now standing forth an offering to the Blast,
And buffetted at will by Rain and Storm,

I stopp'd, and said with inly muttered voice,
"It doth not love the shower, nor seek the cold:
This neither is it's courage nor it's choice,
But it's necessity in being old."

The sunshine may not bless it, nor the dew;
It cannot help itself in it's decay;
Stiff in it's members, wither'd, changed of hue.
And, in my spleen, I smiled that it was grey. 20

To be a Prodigal's Favorite--then, worse truth,
A Miser's Pensioner--behold our lot!
O Man! that from thy fair and shining youth
Age might but take the things Youth needed not!

William Wordsworth