James Oswald
(1710 - 1769)

The fragrant lily of the vale
(S./T.2Fl.Continuo)
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Published c.1760. A setting of this text, perhaps this one, was recorded as sung at Ranelagh.
Lyrics: Anon

The fragrant lily of the vale,
so elegant and fair,
Whose sweets perfume each fanning gale,
To Chloe I compare.
What tho' on earth it lowly grows,
And strives its head to find,
Its sweetness far outvies the rose
That flaunts with so much pride.

The costly tulip owes its hue
To many a gaudy stain;
In this we view the virgin white
Of innocence remain.
See how the curious florist's hand
Uprears its humble head,
And to preserve the charming flow'r
Transplants it to his bed.

There, while it sheds its sweets around,
How shines each modest grace;
Enraptur'd, how its owner stands,
To view its lovely face.
But pray, my Chloe, now observe
The inference of my tale:
May I the florist be and thou
The lily of my vale.