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LILIES
[ Also see Flowers Plants ]

I like not lady-slippers,
  Not yet the sweet-pea blossoms,
    Not yet the flaky roses,
      Red or white as snow;
        I like the chaliced lilies,
          The heavy Eastern lilies,
            The gorgeous tiger-lilies,
              That in our garden grow.
      - Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Tiger Lilies
         (st. 1)

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
  And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
      - Bible, Matthew (ch. VII, v. 28-29)

And lilies white, prepared to touch
  The whitest thought, nor soil it much,
    Of dreamer turned to lover.
      - Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
        A Flower in a Letter

And lilies are still lilies, pulled
  By smutty hands, though spotted from their white.
      - Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh
         (bk. III)

. . . Purple lilies Dante blew
  To a larger bubble with his prophet breath.
      - Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh
         (bk. VII)

Very whitely still
  The lilies of our lives may reassure
    Their blossoms from their roots, accessible
      Alone to heavenly dews that drop not fewer;
        Growing straight out of man's reach, on the hill.
          God only, who made us rich, can make us poor.
      - Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
        Sonnets from the Portuguese

I wish I were the lily's leaf
  To fade upon that bosom warm,
    Content to wither, pale and brief,
      The trophy of thy paler form.
      - Dionysius of Chalcus

And the stately lilies stand
  Fair in the silvery light,
    Like saintly vestals, pale in prayer;
      Their pure breath sanctifies the air,
        As its fragrance fills the night.
      - Julia Caroline Ripley Dorr, A Red Rose

Yet, the great ocean hath no tone of power
  Mightier to reach the soul, in thought's hushed hour,
    Than yours, ye Lilies! chosen thus and graced!
      - Mrs. Felicia D. Hemans,
        Sonnet--The Lilies of the Field

The lily is all in white, like a saint,
  And so is no mate for me.
      - Thomas Hood, Flowers

We are Lilies fair,
  The flower of virgin light;
    Nature held us forth, and said,
      "Lo! my thoughts of white."
      - Leigh Hunt (James Henry Leigh Hunt),
        Songs and Chorus of the Flowers--Lilies

O lovely lily clean,
  O lily springing green,
    O lily bursting white,
      Dear lily of delight,
        Spring in my heart agen
          That I may flower to men.
      - John Masefield, Everlasting Mercy
         (last stanza)

"Look to the lilies how they grow!"
  'Twas thus the Saviour said, that we,
    Even in the simplest flowers that blow,
      God's ever-watchful care might see.
      - David Macbeth Moir (known as Delta),
        Lilies

For her, the lilies hang their heads and die.
      - Alexander Pope, Pastorals--Autumn (l. 26)

Gracious as sunshine, sweet as dew
  Shut in a lily's golden core.
      - Margaret Junkin Preston, Agnes

Is not this lily pure?
  What fuller can procure
    A white so perfect, spotless clear
      As in this flower doth appear?
      - Francis Quarles,
        The School of the Heart--Ode XXX (st. 4)

Cytherea,
  How bravely thou becom'st thy bed, fresh lily,
    And whiter than the sheets!
      - William Shakespeare, Cymbeline
         (Iachimo at II, ii)

Like the lily
  That once was mistress of the field and flourished,
    I'll hang my head and perish.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Life of King Henry the Eighth
         (Katherine at III, i)

And the wand-like lily which lifted up,
  As a Maenad, its moonlight-coloured cup,
    Till the fiery star, which is its eye,
      Gazed through clear dew on the tender sky.
      - Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Sensitive Plant
         (pt. I)

"Thou wert not, Solomon! in all thy glory
  Array'd," the lilies cry, "in robes like ours;
    How vain your grandeur! Ah, how transitory
      Are human flowers!"
      - Horace (Horatio) Smith (a/k/a Paul Chatfield),
        Hymn to the Flowers (st. 10)

But who will watch my lilies,
  When their blossoms open white?
    By day the sun shall be sentry,
      And the moon and the stars by night!
      - Bayard Taylor,
        The Poets' Journal--The Garden of Roses
         (st. 14)

But lilies, stolen from grassy mold,
  No more curled state unfold,
    Translated to a vase of gold;
      In burning throne though they keep still
        Serenities unthawed and chill.
      - Francis Thompson, Gilded Gold (st. 1)

Yet in that bulb, those sapless scales,
  The lily wraps her silver vest,
    Till vernal suns and vernal gales
      Shall kiss once more her fragrant breast.
      - Mrs. Mary B. Tighe, The Lily


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