The Snow-Drop And The Primrose

The Primrose and Snow-Drop argued about which was the finer flower. They eventually decided it did not matter as all flowers fade away.

Realize what is important and what is not in life.


JN Fable 041

Sketch: James Northcote; Wood drawing: William Harvey; Engraving: D. Dodd (1828)

A Primrose ever sweet to view,
Beside a lovely Snow-drop grew;
They were the boasted pride of spring,
Fann’d by the Zephy’rs balmy wing;
Each thought itself the choicest flow’r
That ever drank the spangled show’r;
And vied for beauty, sought for praise,
Beneath the sun’s resplendent rays.
At length the Snow-drop, fraught with ire,
Began to vent its jealous fire.
‘You, Primrose! are not blest as I,
‘Who can delight each gazing eye;
‘Superior beauties I may claim,
‘But you were born to meet disdain;
‘That ye11ow tinge which courts the air,
‘Is nothing but the type of care!
‘Review my innocence and worth,
‘Know that I sprung from purer earth;
‘While you from coarser mould arose—
‘The truth your sallow visage shows;
‘A grov’ling paltry ftow’r, and pale,
‘The jest of ev’ry nipping gale,
‘I am the youthful poet’s theme,
‘Of me the bard delights to dream;
‘In lofty verse he sings my praise,
‘And paints me in his choicest lays;
‘But you the early bud of care,
‘Are never seen to flourish there!’
The Primrose heard with modest ear,
And ‘Flow’r,’ it said, ‘tho’ sprung so near,
‘I still co-eval praise may claim,
‘Nor was I born to meet disdain?
‘Know that we both, tho’ now so gay,
‘Shall soon be lost and fade away;
‘And if for beauty’s meed you vie,
‘What boots it? since next eve you die.
‘The Rose is lovely to behold,
‘The Cowslip, too, which boasts of gold,
‘The Tulip and the Lily fair,
‘All yield their fragrance to the air,
‘But soon their beauty fades away,
‘And then proud Snow-drop, what are they?’


Celia, be wise, from pride refrain,
Nor of your matchless face be vain!
Beauty is short, and· soon you’ll find,
The greatest centers in the mind.
Let virtue be your sov’reign guide,
Make her your friend, your boast, and pride,
Then will the brightest deed be done,
And all the beauties shine in one.

JN Fable 041a

Wood drawing: William Harvey (1828)