Felicia Hemans in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine Volume 31 1832/The Flower of the Desert

Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 31, Pages 219-220



"Who does not recollect the exultation of Vaillant over a flower in the torrid wastes of Africa?—The affecting mention of the influence of a flower upon his mind, by Mungo Park, in a time of suffering and despondency, in the heart of the same savage country, is familiar to every one."—Howitt's Book of the Seasons.

Why art thou thus in thy beauty cast,
    O lonely, loneliest flower!
Where the sound of song hath never pass'd,
    From human hearth or bower?

I pity thee, for thy heart of love,
    For thy glowing heart, that fain
Would breathe out joy with each wind to rove—
    In vain, lost thing! in vain!

I pity thee for thy wasted bloom,
    For thy glory's fleeting hour,
For the desert place, thy living tomb—
    O lonely, loneliest flower!

I said,—but a low voice made reply:
    "Lament not for the flower!
Though its blossom all unmark'd must die,
    They have had a glorious dower

"Though it bloom afar from the minstrel's way
    And the paths where lovers tread,
Yet strength and hope, like an inborn day,
    By its odours have been shed.

"Yes! dews more sweet than ever fell
    O'er island of the blest,
Were shaken forth, from its perfumed bell,
    On a suffering human breast.

"A wanderer came, as a stricken deer,
    O'er the waste of burning sand,
He bore the wound of an Arab spear,
    He fled from a ruthless band.

"And dreams of home, in a troubled tide,
    Swept o'er his darkening eye,
As he lay down by the fountain side,
    In his mute despair to die.

"But his glance was caught by the desert's flower,
    The precious boon of heaven!

And sudden hope, like a vernal shower,
    To his fainting heart was given.

"For the bright flower spoke of One above;
    Of the Presence, felt to brood,
With a spirit of pervading love,
    O'er the wildest solitude.

"Oh! the seed was thrown these wastes among,
    In a blest and gracious hour!
For the lorn one rose, in heart made strong,
    By the lonely, loneliest flower!"