The Race of the Flowers

By William Brighty Rands

The trees and the flowers seem running a race,
But none treads down the other;
And neither thinks it his disgrace
To be later than his brother.
Yet the pear-tree shouts to the lilac-tree,
"Make haste for the spring is late!"
And the lilac whispers to the chestnut-tree
(Because he is so great),
"Pray you, great sir, be quick, be quick,
For down below we are blossoming thick!"

Then the chestnut hears, and comes out into bloom,
White, or pink, to the tip-top boughs —
Oh, why not grow higher, there's plenty of room,
You beautiful tree, with the sky for your house?

Then like music they seem to burst out together,
The little and the big, with a beautiful burst;
They sweeten the wind, they paint the weather,
And no one remembers which was first.
White rose, red rose,
Bud rose, shed rose,
Larkspur and lily and the rest,
North, South, East, West,
June, July, August, September!

Ever so late in the year will come
Many a red geranium
And chrysanthemums up to November!
Then the winter has overtaken them all,
The fogs and the rains begin to fall,
And the flowers, after running their races,
Are weary and shut up their little faces,
And under the ground they go to sleep.
Is it very far down? Yes, ever so deep.


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