Lessons from the Gorse

‘To win the secret of a weed's plain heart.’
— Lowell .
First printed in the Athenœum , October 23, 1841.


 Mountain gorses, ever-golden,
 Cankered not the whole year long!
 Do ye teach us to be strong,
 Howsoever pricked and holden
 Like your thorny blooms, and so
 Trodden on by rain and snow,
Up the hill-side of this life, as bleak as where ye grow?


 Mountain blossoms, shining blossoms,
 Do ye teach us to be glad
 When no summer can be had,
 Blooming in our inward bosoms?
 Ye, whom God preserveth still,
 Set as lights upon a hill,
Tokens to the wintry earth that Beauty liveth still!


 Mountain gorses, do ye teach us
 From that academic chair
 Canopied with azure air,
 That the wisest word man reaches
 Is the humblest he can speak?
 Ye, who live on mountain peak,
Yet live low along the ground, beside the grasses meek!


 Mountain gorses, since Linnæus
 Knelt beside you on the sod,
 For your beauty thanking God,—
 For your teaching, ye should see us
 Bowing in prostration new!
 Whence arisen,—if one or two
Drops be on our cheeks—O world, they are not tears but dew.
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