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This fragile hothouse plant of mine
In perfect bloom,
This flower whose varied tints combine
The costliest jewel to outshine,
This native of some tropic clime,
This princess of a royal line,
Ah! would she own
That low, coarse weed by yonder fence,
A cousin to her excellence?


And yet the truth must needs proclaim,
With Fate's stern pen;
The weed, a thing of blight and blame,
Bears in its coarse low life the same
Remote and honored family name,
As this, my pet of floral fame;
With flowers and men
The ties of nature sometimes bind
To rudest natures left behind.


The honored, virtuous life must blush
Ofttimes in vain,
For kindred lives whose baseness crush
The buds of promise in their flush,
And make their names a funeral hush,
And pure affection's fountains gush,
To bear a stain;
Condemn not truth for error's deeds,
While flowers are flowers and weeds are weeds.