The Sun – just touched the Morning –
The Morning – Happy thing –
Supposed that He had come to dwell –
And Life would all be Spring!
She felt herself supremer –
A Raised – Ethereal Thing!
Henceforth – for Her – What Holiday!
Meanwhile – Her wheeling King –
Trailed – slow – along the Orchards –
His haughty – spangled Hems –
Leaving a new necessity!
The want of Diadems!
The Morning – fluttered – staggered –
Felt feebly – for Her Crown –
Her unanointed forehead –
Henceforth – Her only One!
F246 (1861) 232
“The Daisy follows soft the Sun” (F161) has been considered by some scholars to be a love poem about unrequited but faithful love. In this simple story of an anthropomorphized Morning who is bewildered and “staggered” by the sun’s seeming desertion as the day moves forward, the unhappy course of a one-sided love affair is portrayed in even more desolate imagery. The conceit of the poem depends on imagining Morning as an independent entity lingering in some undefined state until “touched” (“just touched,” in fact, to make the one-sidedness of the relationship more pronounced) by the Sun on his daily round. Or perhaps every Morning is different and this one, like a new ingénue or debutante, had just emerged. Poor naïve thing: she felt that this simple touch meant so much more than it actually did. The Sun would live with her forever and then it would be non-stop Spring! Alas, readers will be shaking their heads. It just doesn’t work that way. Hope may spring eternal, but spring itself is ephemeral.
|Who needs a crown with hair|
like this? (Louis XIV - Sun King)
But the inexperienced Morning felt uplifted. Her life from now on would not be a banal string of day upon day, but rather hold the delights of a perpetual “Holiday.”
|Helios, Sun God, and his Chariot|
bringing the sun across the sky
The sun, the King (and the sun and kings are often equated – think of Hyperion the Sun God, or Louis XIV the Sun King) is portrayed as distant and “haughty” with his fancy “spangled Hems.” He wheels majestically through the day until, lowering in the west, he trails slowly over the orchard leaving poor Morning far behind. For Morning can never follow her lord into the later realms of Day and Night.
Morning’s response is just what we would expect from an abandoned maiden: she “fluttered” faintly, staggering with the shock. We see her feeling her head “feebly” for the crown she felt must have been granted her, but there is none. Instead, she will have to live with her “unanointed forehead” for the rest of her life.
This last image implies a seduction. The Sun has deflowered Morning leaving her in the “necessity” of a diadem or crown – or wedding ring. But alas, she realizes that no such pledge or emblem of reciprocal love and faithfulness will be forthcoming. The image recalls an earlier poem (F194):
Title divine, is mine.
The Wife without the Sign –
Acute Degree conferred on me –
Empress of Calvary –
Royal, all but the Crown –
Betrothed, without the Swoon
God gives us Women –
When You hold Garnet to Garnet –
Gold – to Gold –
Born – Bridalled – Shrouded –
In a Day -
Tri Victory –
"My Husband" – Women say -
Stroking the Melody –
Is this – the way –