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William Wordsworth
Complete Poetical Works

TO A LADY

IN ANSWER TO A REQUEST THAT I WOULD WRITE HER A POEM UPON SOME DRAWINGS THAT SHE HAD MADE OF FLOWERS IN THE ISLAND OF MADEIRA

FAIR Lady! can I sing of flowers
That in Madeira bloom and fade,
I who ne'er sate within their bowers,
Nor through their sunny lawns have strayed?
How they in sprightly dance are worn
By Shepherd-groom or May-day queen,
Or holy festal pomps adorn,
These eyes have never seen.

Yet tho' to me the pencil's art
No like remembrances can give,
Your portraits still may reach the heart
And there for gentle pleasure live;
While Fancy ranging with free scope
Shall on some lovely Alien set
A name with us endeared to hope,
To peace, or fond regret.

Still as we look with nicer care,
Some new resemblance we may trace:
A 'Heart's-ease' will perhaps be there,
A 'Speedwell' may not want its place.
And so may we, with charmed mind
Beholding what your skill has wrought,
Another 'Star-of-Bethlehem' find,
A new 'Forget-me-not'.

From earth to heaven with motion fleet
From heaven to earth our thoughts will pass,
A 'Holy-thistle' here we meet
And there a 'Shepherd's weather-glass';
And haply some familiar name
Shall grace the fairest, sweetest, plant
Whose presence cheers the drooping frame
Of English Emigrant.

Gazing she feels its powers beguile
Sad thoughts, and breathes with easier breath;
Alas! that meek that tender smile
Is but a harbinger of death:
And pointing with a feeble hand
She says, in faint words by sighs broken,
Bear for me to my native land
This precious Flower, true love's last token.

1845.