The Poetry Corner

The Lily Of The Valley

By Paul Laurence Dunbar

Sweetest of the flowers a-blooming In the fragrant vernal days Is the Lily of the Valley With its soft, retiring ways. Well, you chose this humble blossom As the nurse's emblem flower, Who grows more like her ideal Every day and every hour. Like the Lily of the Valley In her honesty and worth, Ah, she blooms in truth and virtue In the quiet nooks of earth. Tho' she stands erect in honor When the heart of mankind bleeds, Still she hides her own deserving In the beauty of her deeds. In the silence of the darkness Where no eye may see and know, There her footsteps shod with mercy, And fleet kindness come and go. Not amid the sounds of plaudits, Nor before the garish day, Does she shed her soul's sweet perfume, Does she take her gentle way. But alike her ideal flower, With its honey-laden breath, Still her heart blooms forth its beauty In the valley shades of death.