One early morn, from country fields,
The market gardeners came,
With red ripe melons, “roasting ears,”
And fruits with cheeks aflame;
And one great wagon stopped, while spoke
The good wife at my gate;
“Will you have something, ma’am, to-day,
They’re all of them first rate?”
“I think I will; but would you like
A handful of my flowers;
I’ll gather chiefly buds; they’ll bloom
At home in a few hours.”
‘Oh, thank you!” Then she glanced around
As though she something sought.
And then she knelt beside a plant
Her earnest eye had caught.
She clasped her hands just like a child
That finds some joyous thing,
And in her native words and smile
Strange gladness seemed to spring;
Then, while I watched in s’lence, she
Looked up, tears in her eyes;
” I smelled it, and the flower is here,
Ah me; such glad surprise!”
“And do you love this flower, then,
For it seems dear to you ?
It is the fragrant mignonette,
And neither rare nor new.”
“Yes, lady, but in mine own land
This flower, loved by all,
It grows in windows of the poor
And ’round fine houses tall.
“And those who cannot buy a plant,
And dare not ask for one,
Can go and breathe its breath so sweet
Out in the warm, bright sun;
For in long beds inside the fence
That guards the royal grounds,
And in sweet patches o’er the lawns,
This fair, green plant abounds.
“There, rich and poor alike may reach
And pluck at certain hour
These perfumed sprays; he loved them so,
We call them ‘the king’s flower.’ ”
“Oh, gather all you wish, my friend !
And see these small plants, too,
That spring in plenty from the seed,
I’ll take them up for you.
“Now tell me if you know this one
So modest, small, and blue?”
Again she smiled: ” Oh. all the world
I think knows this one, too!
I don’t know what you call it here,”
She said, as her eyes met me,
“But in mine land, so far away,
We call it ‘don’t forget me.”
I doubt if maiden fair and bright,
And decked with love’s own care,
A brighter smile of happiness
Upon her lips could wear.
She placed them, plants and flowers, in their
Safe place from sun or shower,
Then, as she spoke to some loved child:
“Mine love’s, mine king’s own flower!”
Smile at the country teams and folk,
But I shall ne’er forget
The lover’s blue forget-me-not
And the king’s mignonette.
And when I see the wagons pass,
There comes o’er me again
A dream of romance, royal grace,
And she, queen of the train.