Love came to Flora asking for a flower
That would of flowers be undisputed queen,
The lily and the rose, long long had been
Rivals for that high honour. Bards of power
Had sung their claims. "The rose can never tower
Like the pale lily with her Juno mien" -
"But is the lily lovelier?" Thus between
Flower fractions rang the strife in Psyche's bower.
"Give me a flower delicious as the rose
And stately as the lily in her pride"-
"But of what colour?"- "Rose red," Love first chose,
Then prayed, - "No, lily-white, - or both provide";
And Flora gave the lotus, "rose red" dyed
And "lily white," queenliest flower that blows
By Toru Dutt (1856-1877)
We did this poem in MA-I ....remembered it recently, though I don't quite know why...what I love about the poem then and now, is its sheer simplicity. You'd hardly believe there was a nationalistic strain lying beneath it - oft I wonder if we make too much of the poet's intention. Should we tear apart every literary work to discover the "subverted text" that lies hidden beneath layers? Or simply appreciate the work for what it seems to be...art for art's sake?