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Rudyard Kipling
Poems

THE FLOWERS

       To our private taste, there is always something a little exotic,
       almost artificial, in songs which, under an English aspect and dress,
       are yet so manifestly the product of other skies.  They affect us
       like translations; the very fauna and flora are alien, remote;
       the dog's-tooth violet is but an ill substitute for the rathe primrose,
       nor can we ever believe that the wood-robin sings as sweetly in April
       as the English thrush. -- THE ATHENAEUM.



          Buy my English posies!
           Kent and Surrey may --
          Violets of the Undercliff
           Wet with Channel spray;
          Cowslips from a Devon combe --
           Midland furze afire --
          Buy my English posies
           And I'll sell your heart's desire!

    Buy my English posies!
       You that scorn the May,
    Won't you greet a friend from home
       Half the world away?
    Green against the draggled drift,
       Faint and frail and first --
    Buy my Northern blood-root
       And I'll know where you were nursed:
Robin down the logging-road whistles, "Come to me!"
Spring has found the maple-grove, the sap is running free;
All the winds of Canada call the ploughing-rain.
Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again!

    Buy my English posies!
       Here's to match your need --
    Buy a tuft of royal heath,
       Buy a bunch of weed
    White as sand of Muysenberg
       Spun before the gale --
    Buy my heath and lilies
       And I'll tell you whence you hail!
Under hot Constantia broad the vineyards lie --
Throned and thorned the aching berg props the speckless sky --
Slow below the Wynberg firs trails the tilted wain --
Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again!

    Buy my English posies!
       You that will not turn --
    Buy my hot-wood clematis,
       Buy a frond o' fern
    Gathered where the Erskine leaps
       Down the road to Lorne --
    Buy my Christmas creeper
       And I'll say where you were born!
West away from Melbourne dust holidays begin --
They that mock at Paradise woo at Cora Lynn --
Through the great South Otway gums sings the great South Main --
Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again!

    Buy my English posies!
       Here's your choice unsold!
    Buy a blood-red myrtle-bloom,
       Buy the kowhai's gold
    Flung for gift on Taupo's face,
       Sign that spring is come --
    Buy my clinging myrtle
       And I'll give you back your home!
Broom behind the windy town; pollen o' the pine --
Bell-bird in the leafy deep where the ~ratas~ twine --
Fern above the saddle-bow, flax upon the plain --
Take the flower and turn the hour, and kiss your love again!

    Buy my English posies!
       Ye that have your own
    Buy them for a brother's sake
       Overseas, alone.
    Weed ye trample underfoot
       Floods his heart abrim --
    Bird ye never heeded,
       Oh, she calls his dead to him!
Far and far our homes are set round the Seven Seas;
Woe for us if we forget, we that hold by these!
Unto each his mother-beach, bloom and bird and land --
Masters of the Seven Seas, oh, love and understand.