Maurice Thompson

The Tulip (Caveat regina)

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Seeing, above dark spikes of green,
Your great bold flowers of gold and red,
I think of some young heathen queen
With blazing crown upon her head,--


Some beautiful barbaric thing,
Clothed in rich garments, emerald zoned,
Whom simple folk, half worshiping
And half in fear, have crowned and throned.


You will not deign to give the breeze
The slightest nod as it goes by;
You will not move a leaf to please
The drowsy gorgeous butterfly.


With measureless nonchalance and pride,
You take the humming bird's caress;
The brown melodious bee must bide
Your haughty, arrogant willfulness!


You will not even stoop to hear
The whisper of the adoring grass;
The violets droop their heads in fear,
The beetles grumble as they pass.


Beware, O queen, some day ere long
All these may drop their fealty,
And for redress of causeless wrong
Uprise in passionate mutiny.


Ah, then what rapturous sound of wings,
Applauding when your throne goes down!
What cheering when the rude breeze springs,
And whisks away your withered crown!

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Maurice Thompson