Yellow Daffodil
Horace Smith (1779 – 1849)

Gray was the morn, all things were gray,
T’was winter more than spring;
A bleak east wind swept o’er the land,
and sobered everything.

Gray was the sky, the fields were gray,
The hills, the woods, the trees –
Distance and foreground – all the scene
Was gray in the gray breeze.

Gray cushions, and a gray skin rug,
A dark gray wicker tray,
Gray were the ladies’ hats and cloaks,
And gray my coat and cap.

A narrow, lonely, gray old lane;
and lo, on a gray gate,
Just by the side of a gray wood,
A sooty sweep there sat!

With grimy chin ‘twixt grimy hands
He sat and whistled shrill;
And in his sooty cap he wore
A yellow daffodil.

And often when the days are dull,
I seem to see him still –
The jaunty air, the sooty face –
And the yellow daffodil.

Printed in the Autumn, 2003 edition of “This England”