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The Flowers
by Rudyard Kipling

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 ATHEN]AEUM.



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.