The Bengali Book of English Verse/The Lotus (Toru Dutt)

For other versions of this work, see Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustan/The Lotus.

The Lotus.

Love came to Flora asking for a flower
That would of flowers be undisputed queen,
The lily and the rose, long, long had been
Rivals for that high honour. Bards of power
Had sung their claims. "The rose can never tower
Like the pale lily with her Juno mien"—
"But is the lily lovelier?" Thus between
Flower factions rang the strife in Psyche's bower.
Give me a flower delicious as the rose
And stately as the lily in her pride"—
"But of what colour?"—"Rose-red," Love first chose,
Then prayed,—"No, lily-white,—or, both provide;"
And Flora gave the lotus, "rose-red" dyed,
And "lily-white,"—the queenliest flower that blows.