The Horologe Of The Fields

Addressed to a Young Lady, on seeing at the House of an
Acquaintance a magnificent French Timepiece.
FOR her who owns this splendid toy,
Where use with elegance unites,
Still may its index point to joy,
And moments wing'd with new delights.
Sweet may resound each silver bell,­
And never quick returning chime,
Seem in reproving notes to tell,
Of hours mispent, and murder'd time.

Tho' Fortune, Emily, deny
To us these splendid works of art,
The woods, the lawns, the heaths supply
Lessons from Nature to the heart.
In every copse, and shelter'd dell,
Unveil'd to the observant eye,
Are faithful monitors, who tell
How pass the hours and seasons by.
The green robed children of the Spring
Will mark the periods as they pass,
Mingle with leaves Time's feather'd wing,
And bind with flowers his silent glass.

Mark where transparent waters glide,
Soft flowing o'er their tranquil bed;
There, cradled on the dimpling tide,
Nymphæa rests her lovely head.
But conscious of the earliest beam,
She rises from her humid rest,
And sees reflected in the stream
The virgin whiteness of her breast.
Till the bright daystar to the west
Declines, in Ocean's surge to lave,
Then folded in her modest vest,
She slumbers on the rocking wave.

See Hieracium's various tribe,
Of plumy seed and radiate flowers,
The course of Time their blooms describe
And wake or sleep appointed hours.
Broad o'er its imbricated cup
The Goatsbeard spreads its golden rays,
But shuts its cautious petals up,
Retreating from the noon-tide blaze:
Pale as a pensive cloister'd nun
The Bethlem-star, her face unveils,
When o'er the mountain peers the Sun,
But shades it from the vesper gales.

Among the loose and arid sands
The humble Arenaria creeps;
Slowly the purple star expands,
But soon within its calyx sleeps.
And those small bells so lightly ray'd
With young Aurora's rosy hue,
Are to the noon-tide Sun display'd,
But shut their plaits against the dew.
On upland slopes the shepherds mark
The hour, when as the dial true,
Cichorium to the towering Lark,
Lifts her soft eyes, serenely blue.

And thou 'Wee crimson tipped flower,'
Gatherest thy fringed mantle round
Thy bosom, at the closing hour,
When night drops bathe the turfy ground.
Unlike Silene, who declines
The garish noontide's blazing light;
But when the evening crescent shines
Gives all her sweetness to the night.
Thus in each flower and simple bell,
That in our path untrodden lie,
Are sweet remembrancers who tell
How fast the winged moments fly.

Time will steal on with ceaseless pace,
Yet lose we not the fleeting hours,
Who still their fairy footsteps trace,
As light they dance among the flowers.

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Charlotte Smith

Charlotte Victoria Smith is one of two main presenters of BBC Radio 4's Farming Today. more…

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"The Horologe Of The Fields" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 10 Dec. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/5672/the-horologe-of-the-fields>.

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