William Cullen Bryant

The Yellow Violet

When beechen buds begin to swell,

And woods the bluebird's warble know

The yellow violet's modest bell

Peeps from the last year's leaves below.

Ere russet fields their green resume,

Sweet flower, I love, in forest bare,

To meet thee, when thy faint perfume

Alone is in the virgin air.

Of all her train, the hands of Spring

First plant thee in the watery mold,

And I have seen thee blossoming

Beside the snow bank's edges cold.

Thy parent sun, who bade thee view

Pale skies, and chilling moisture sip,

Has bathed thee in his own bright hue,

And streaked with jet thy glowing lip.

Yet slight thy form, and low thy seat,

And earthward bent thy gentle eye,

Unapt the passing view to meet,

When loftier flowers are flaunting nigh.

Oft, in the sunless April day,

Thy early smile has stayed my walk;

But midst the gorgeous blooms of May,

I passed thee on thy humble stalk.

So they who climb to wealth forget

The friends in darker fortunes tried.

I copied them—but I regret

That I should ape the ways of pride.

And when again the genial hour

Awakes the painted tribes of light,

I'll not o'erlook the modest flower

That made the woods of April bright.