Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  The Crocus

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Harriet Eleanor Hamilton King b. 1840

The Crocus

OUT of the frozen earth below,

Out of the melting of the snow,

No flower, but a film, I push to light;

No stem, no bud,—yet I have burst

The bars of winter, I am the first,

O Sun, to greet thee out of the night!

Bare are the branches, cold is the air,

Yet it is fire at the heart I bear,

I come, a flame that is fed by none:

The summer hath blossoms for her delight,

Thick and dewy and waxen-white,

Thou seest me golden, O golden Sun!

Deep in the warm sleep underground

Life is still, and the peace profound:

Yet a beam that pierced, and a thrill that smote

Call’d me and drew me from far away;—

I rose, I came, to the open day

Have won, unshelter’d, alone, remote.

No bee strays out to greet me at morn,

I shall die ere the butterfly is born,

I shall hear no note of the nightingale;

The swallow will come at the break of green,

He will never know that I have been

Before him here when the world was pale.

They will follow, the rose with the thorny stem,

The hyacinth stalk,—soft airs for them;

They shall have strength, I have but love:

They shall not be tender as I,—

Yet I fought here first, to bloom, to die,

To shine in his face who shines above.

O Glory of heaven, O Ruler of morn,

O Dream that shap’d me, and I was born

In thy likeness, starry, and flower of flame;

I lie on the earth, and to thee look up,

Into thy image will grow my cup,

Till a sunbeam dissolve it into the same.