To the Carnation


(From the Spanish of Francisco de Rioja)

Carnation, envy of Aurora,

Deepest flame of all the flowers,

On thy birth smiled gentle Flora,

Spent on thee her tend’rst powers,

Gave of time the sweetest hours.


On Macayo’s lofty height

The sun dispels the melting snows,

And as his rays on them alight

Burning fronds he doth unclose,

Lovelier than the crimson rose.


Love with his soft lambent flame

All his beauty gave to thee,

‘Twas from him thy fragrance came

Thou dost wear, his herald free,

All his grace and panoply.


But since love is blent with pain,

And the heart’s blood, richly shed,

Darkens with its carmine stain,

So thy robe bespeaks to me

Both life’s joy and misery !


Weekly Times  4.8.61