A Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

One time in Arcadie’s fair bowers
    There met a bright immortal band,
To choose their emblems from the flowers
    That made an Eden of that land.

Sweet Constancy, with eyes of hope,
    Strayed down the garden path alone
And gathered sprays of heliotrope,
    To place in clusters at her zone.

True Friendship plucked the ivy green,
    Forever fresh, forever fair.
Inconstancy with flippant mien
    The fading primrose chose to wear.

One moment Love the rose paused by;
    But Beauty picked it for her hair.
Love paced the garden with a sigh
    He found no fitting emblem there.

Then suddenly he saw a flame,
    A conflagration turned to bloom;
It even put the rose to shame,
    Both in its beauty and perfume.

He watched it, and it did not fade;
    He plucked it, and it brighter grew.
In cold or heat, all undismayed,
    It kept its fragrance and its hue.

“Here deathless love and passion sleep,”
    He cried, “embodied in this flower.
This is the emblem I will keep.”
    Love wore carnations from that hour.

[Analysis of Red Carnations]