The Foxglove

THE WHITE FOXGLOVE by C.J. Dennis (1876 – 1938)

Reynard, the fox, was asked to a party. “Come”, they said, in your Sunday best, For we like good form, tho’ the fun be hearty; So all who dance must be formally dressed: Black tail-coat and a shirt-front gleaming. Brushed and burnished each dancing shoe, Pantaloons with a silk braid seaming, Clean white gloves of the snowiest hue. This most especially – Very especially – Snow-white gloves of a spotless hue.
Reynard, the fox, as he dressed (says the fable) Dreamed of the dance and his lady love, Then he searched and he hunted in dresser and table, But all he discovered was – one old glove! A horrible glove, with a broad black stitching Sorriest match for his stiff white shirt. Could lover go wooing a maid so bewitching, Wearing but one glove, grubby with dirt? Oh, most disgustedly – Very disgustedly – Creased and crumpled and yellow with dirt.
Said Reynard, the fox, to the King of the Fairies, “King, I come to you craving a dower. Gloves! All as white as the lamb that was Mary’s. Pray you, fashion a pair from a magic flower. >From a summer cloud, from the web of a spider. Skin of a toadstool, a snowberry rind, Down from the breast of a fledgling eider.” And the King said “Sure”, for the King was kind. Ever so graciously – Gaily and graciously – “Oke”, said the Monarch, for he was kind.
Then Reynard, the fox, beheld a wonder: A wave of his wand by the Fairy King – And there, with the green leaves spreading under, Sprang forth a sceptre, a magic thing With garlands of gloves in a gleaming cluster, White as the fleeces of new-shorn flocks That fairy shepherds in Arcady muster. And a pair they presented to Reynard, the fox. They fitted him perfectly. Said the King, “perfectly” “Your Majesty.’ Thank you!” said Reynard, the fox.
Reynard, the fox, made haste to the revel; Beau of the ball, as they had to confess. And the ladies sighed, “What a handsome devil?” As for his lady – of course it was, “yes”. Then they danced and they fasted with merry laughter. While Reynard weaved dreams in the clouds above. And they called that blossom, from then ever after – Men, foxes and fairies – the white Fox-glove. Tall and so slenderly Graceful and tenderly, Swaying its sceptre – the White Fox-Glove.

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