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Mary Howitt

The Use of Flowers

God might have bade the Earth bring forth

Enough for great and small,

The oak tree and the cedar tree,

Without a flower at all.

We might have had enough, enough

For every want of ours,

For luxury, medicine, and toil,

And yet have had no flowers

The ore within the mountain mine

Requireth none to grow;

Nor doth it need the lotus-flower

To make the river flow.

The clouds might give abundant rain,

The nightly dews might fall,

And the herb that keepeth life in man

Might yet have drunk them all.

Then wherefore, wherefore were they made

All dyed with rainbow light,

All fashioned with supremest grace

Upspringing day and night;—

Springing in valleys green and low,

And on the mountains high,

And in the silent wilderness

Where no man passes by?

Our outward life requires them not—

Then wherefore had they birth?—

To minister delight to man,

To beautify the earth;

To comfort man—to whisper hope,

When'er his faith is dim,

For Who so careth for the flowers

Will care much more for him!