A humble wild-rose, pink and slender,
Was plucked and placed in a bright bouquet,
Beside a Jacqueminot’s royal splendour,
And both in my lady’s boudoir lay.
Said the haughty bud, in a tone of scorning,
‘I wonder why you are called a rose?
Your leaves will fade in a single morning;
No blood of mine in your pale cheek glows.
‘Your course green stalk shows dust of the highway,
You have no depths of fragrant bloom;
And what could you learn in a rustic byway
To fit you to lie in my lady’s room?
‘If called to adorn her warm, white bosom,
What have you to offer for such a place,
Beside my fragrant and splendid blossom,
Ripe with colour and rich with grace?
Said the sweet wild-rose, ‘Despite your dower
Of finer breeding and deeper hue,
Despite your beauty, fair, high-bred flower,
It is I who should lie on her breast, not you.
‘For small account is your hot-house glory
Beside the knowledge that came to me
When I heard by the wayside love’s old story
And felt the kiss of the amorous bee.’
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