Hawk. Far in the dreamy East there grows a plant
Whose native home is the Sun’s Cousin’s garden —
All the Ladies. O, it is Tea.
Hawk. It is.
The Ladies. To think of Tea!
Hawk. Its home lies far in the Valley of Romance,
A thousand miles beyond the wilderness.
(Fill up my cup! I thank you Let us have
On Tea and Love a good tea-table talk!)
It has its home away in Fable land;
Alas! and there too is the home of Love:
Only the Children of the Sun, we know,
Can cultivate the herb or tend it well;
And even so it is with Love, my friends!
A drop of sun-blood needs must circulate
Through our dull veins before the passionate Love
Can root itself or shoot or blossom forth.
Miss Magpie. But love and love are everywhere the same,—
Tea has varieties and qualities.
Mrs. Strawman. Yes! tea is bad or good, or pretty good.
Anna. The young green shoots are thought the best of all.
Svanhild. That kind is only for the Sun’s bright Daughters.
A Young Lady. They say that it intoxicates, like ether.
Another. Fragrant as lotus and as sweet as almond.
Guldsted. That kind of import never reaches us.
Hawk. I think that in his nature every one
Has got a little “Heavenly Empire” in him
Where, on the twigs, a thousand such sweet buds
Form under shadow of that falling Wall
Of China, bashfulness; — where, underneath
The shelter of the quaint kiosk, there sigh
A troop of Fancy’s little China Dolls,
Who dream, and dream, with damask round their loins,
And in their hands a golden tulip-flower.
The first-fruits of Love’s harvest were for them;
And we just have the rubbish and the stalks.
And now the last point of similitude: —
See how the hand of culture presses down
The “Heavenly Empire” out in the far East!
Its great Wall moulders, and its strength is gone;
The last of genuine Mandarins is hang’d,
And Foreign Devils gather in the crops.
Soon the whole thing will merely be a legend,
A wonder-story nobody believes:
The whole wide world is painted grey on grey;
And Wonderland for ever is gone past.
But have we Love? O where, O where is Love?
Nay! Love is also banish’d out of sight.
But let us bow before the age we live in!
Drink! drink in tea to Love discrown’d and dead!