In latest June, when giant gentians bold
Unhood themselves and break to sudden flower,
Manning the galleries of each sturdy tower
With saffron-starry shields and spikes of gold,
I wandering found a wonder to behold,
A tufted thing that wove a silken bower
For fairies, frightened by a summer shower,
Or tender sprites that feared the dewy cold.
Anon it seemed a humming-bird’s soft nest,
Anon a living sea-flower, such as grow
In tropic waters when the waves are still;
I knew not, in its silken seed-coat drest,
The May’s most lovely daughter of the hill,
The wind-flower with its petals white as snow.
(Sonnets in Switzerland and Italy, p. 157)