Paul Hamilton Hayne Poems >>
To A Bee

SMALL epicurean, would to heaven that I
Could borrow your lithe body and swift wing
To speed, a lightning atom through the sky,
The blithest courier on the winds of spring!

O blissful mite! native of light and air!
In eager zeal you haste your spoils to win;
From half-blown bud to flower all matron-fair,
Sucking the nectared sweetness shrined within!

The jonquil wooes you with her golden blush,
And blossoming quince (each flower a fairy Mars,
That tints its heaven of green with crimsoned flush),
While the pure "white-rod" blooms in silvery stars,

Open to yield their delicate richness up.
But most you love on vernal noons, to dart
'Mid jasmine bowers, and drain each petalled cup
With fervid lip and warm voluptuous heart.

There, safely couched, you hum a low refrain,
Of such supreme and rare contentment born,
Its happy monotone mocks our human pain,
And subtly stings us with unconscious scorn.

Thence, honey-freighted, you steal lazily out,
Pausing a moment on some leafy brink,
As if enmeshed by viewless webs of doubt
From what next fount of luscious life to drink--

A moment only. Soon your matchless flight
Cleaves the far blue; your elfin thunder booms
In elfin echoes from yon glimmering height,
To fall and die amid these ravished blooms.

Gone, like a vision! Yet, be sure that he
Hath only flown through lovelier flowers to stray,
Anacreon's soul, thus prisoned in a bee,
Still sips and sings the springtide hours away!