God might have bade the earth bring forth
Enough for great and small,
The oak-tree and the cedar-tree,
Without a flower at all.
We might have had enough, enough
For every want of ours,
For luxury, medicine, and toil,
And yet have had no flowers.
The ore within the mountain mine
Requireth none to grow;
Nor does it need the lotus-flower
To make the river flow.
The clouds might give abundant rain,
The nightly dews might fall,
And the herb that keepeth life in man
Might yet have drunk them all.
Then, wherefore, wherefore are they made,
All dyed with rainbow light,
All fashioned with supremest grace
Upspringing day and night;
Springing in valleys green and low,
And on the mountain high,
And in the silent wilderness,
Where no man passes by?
Our outward life requires them not,
Then wherefore had they birth?
To minister delight to man,
To beautify the earth,
To comfort man, to whisper hope
Whene'er his faith is dim;
For whoso careth for the flowers
Will much more care for him.