After the tempest in the sky,
How sweet yon rainbow to the eye!
Come, my Matilda, now while some
Few drops of rain are yet to come,
In this honeysuckle bower
Safely shelter’d from the shower,
We may count the colours o’er.
Seven there are, there are no more;
Each in each so finely blended,
Where they begin, or where are ended,
The finest eye can scarcely see.
A fixed thing it seems to be;
But, while we speak, see how it glides
Away, and now observe it hides
Half of its perfect arch; now we
Scarce any part of it can see.
What is colour? If I were
A natural philosopher,
I would tell you what does make
This meteor every colour take;
But an unlearned eye may view
Nature’s rare sights, and love them too.
Whenever I a rainbow see,
Each precious tint is dear to me;
For every colour find I there
Which flowers, which fields, which ladies wear;
My favourite green, the grass’s hue,
And the fine deep violet-blue,
And the pretty pale blue-bell,
And the rose I love so well;
All the wondrous variations
Of the tulip, pinks, carnations;
This woodbine here, both flower and leaf;
‘Tis a truth that’s past belief,
That every flower and every tree
And every living thing we see,
Every face which we espy,
Every cheek and every eye,
In all their tints, in every shade,
Are from the rainbow’s colours made.
From Poetry for Children, by Charles and Mary Lamb
London: J.M. Dent & Co., 1898.