Near Battersea a lonely flower grew,
It was in truth a sweet and lovely thing:
The skies smiled on its blossoming,
And poured into its breast their balmy dew;
Its breath was fragrant as the month of May;
Its face was fairer than the mist that veils
Aurora's self, ere she has bid the day
Laugh on the hills, and smile upon the dales.
Fairest of all!—companions she had none;
For Fate had torn them from her tender side.
She seemed a virgin suing to be won,
And yet all-shrinking in her modest pride.
This cauliflower,—which I now call a flower,—
I took into my arms, and boiled that very hour.
The Irish hodman, on his ladder high,
Surveys each chimney-pot that smokes around,
Then turns his anxious eyes upon the ground
To where his pipe doth in his jacket lie:
Sweet thoughts of "'bacco," and the opium feel
That lays a handcuff on Care's iron wrist.
Come o'er his mind; and pots of porter steal,
Illusive settling on his outstretched fist!
Entranced he stands: the tenants of his hod
Fall down before the spirits of his heart;
Till Reason interferes her magic rod,
"Puts out his pipe," and shows his bricks apart,
So 'twas with me: Ambition once did fix
An airy structure, which fell down "like bricks!"