Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Proud Sultana of the Summer Hour

To the Poppy
by John Holland


Lethae perfusa papavera somno. -- Virg : Georg : i, 38

Poets have emblem'd Vanity in thee;
Feign'd thee a gay and worthless flaunting flower,
The proud sultana of the summer hour:
Before the breeze the crimson bloom may flee,
But shed thy charms, a capsule green remains,
With juice narcotic rich: by curious art,
The essenced drug express'd, allays the smart,
And lulls in easy trance, beguiling pains,
The woe-worn heir of life; ah, stupor sweet,
That helps ev'n pain, of watchfulness to cheat
An hour: I would not choose to yield my breath,
lull'd in the poppied atmosphere of death:
But who can tell?—the thought my soul refrains—
Yet, flower of injured fame, thy worth induced my strains.

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