Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE BIRTHDAY CROWN, by WILLIAM ALEXANDER (1824-1911)



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THE BIRTHDAY CROWN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: If aught of simple song have power to touch
Last Line: Give her the unfading crown!'
Subject(s): Birthdays


IF aught of simple song have power to touch
Your silent being, O ye country flowers,
Twisted by tender hands
Into a royal brede,

O hawthorn, tear thou not the soft white brow
Of the small queen upon her rustic throne,
But breathe thy finest scent
Of almond round about.

And thou, laburnum, and what other hue
Tinct deeper gives variety of gold,
Inwoven lily, and vetch
Bedropp'd with summer's blood,

I charge you wither not this long June day!
Oh, wither not until the sunset come,
Until the sunset's shaft
Slope through the chestnut-tree;

Until she sit, high gloried round about
With the great light above her mimic court --
Her threads of sunny hair
Girt sunnily by you.

What other crown that queen may wear one day,
What drops may touch her forehead not of balm,
What thorns, what cruel thorns,
I will not guess to-day.

Only, before she is discrowned of you,
Ye dying flowers, and thou, O dying light,
My prayer shall rise -- 'O Christ!
Give her the unfading crown.

'The crown of blossoms worn by happy bride,
The thorny crown o'er pale and dying lips,
I dare not choose for her --
Give her the unfading crown!'





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