In the garden grew a flower,
Humbly trailing it was found;
Bent by clustered petals downward
To the damp, cool, shady ground.
Day by day the master spied it,
In its neutral tinted dress,
Called it dull and hateful blossom,
Vowed to ever love it less.
" For," spake he, " 'tis never laden
With the halo of perfume;
'Tis a soulless flower growing
Where bright roses fair should bloom.
" 'Tis a weed that mars the garden,
Plant me flowers rich and rare."
Thus he bade the keeper spade it
From his pathway everywhere.
As he spoke, a light supernal
Filled each corner of the place,
And the master looked and trembled
At the glory of the face.
Smiling sadly down upon him,
With a look that seemed to say,
- Give this modest little creature
Of God's making leave to stay."
It was Mary — Virgin Mother --
Like the morning chaste and pure,
Crowned with holy rays from heaven
That his eyes could scarce endure.
Low toward it she inclined her,
Till her lips had touched the plant,
Breathing full upon its petals,
Swaying on the mossy slant.
And the air grew faint with odors,
Sweeter than Arabian spice ;
Then the sainted Mary vanished --
She had kissed the blossom thrice.
Since that time in all the garden
Grows no sweeter thing as yet,
Than the lovely, heaven-born flower,
Than the fragrant mignonette.
— Effie Douglass Putnam.