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seasons which must come and go before that little flower shall burst forth in its loveliness again. Happy is it for those who have so counted the cost of the coming year, that they shall not find at the end they have expended either hope or desire in fruitless speculations.
It is of little consequence what flower comes next under consideration. A few specimens will serve the purpose of proving that these lovely productions of nature are, in their general associations, highly poetical. The primrose is one upon which we dwell with pleasure proportioned to our taste for rural scenery, and the estimate we have previously formed of the advantages of a peaceful and secluded life. In connection with this flower, imagination pictures a thatched cottage standing on the slope of the hill, and a little woody dell, whose green banks are spangled all over with yellow stars, while a troop of rosy children are gambolling on the same bank, gathering the flowers, as we used to gather them ourselves, before the toils and struggles of mortal conflict had worn us down to what we are now; and thus presenting to the mind the combined ideas of natural enjoyment, innocence, and rural peace-the more vivid, because we can remember the time when something like this was mingled with the cup of which we drank. -the more touching, because we doubt whether, if such pure drops were still there, they would not to our taste have lost their sweetness.
THE POETRY OF FLOWERS.
The violet, while it pleases by its modest, retiring beauty, possesses the additional charm of the most exquisite of all perfumes, which, inhaled with the pure and invigorating breezes of spring, always brings back in remembrance a lively conception of that delightful season. Thus, in the language of poetry, "the violet-scented gale" is synonymous with those accumulated and sweetlyblended gratifications which we derive from odors, flowers, and balmy breezes; and above all, from the contemplation of renovated nature, once more bursting forth into beauty and perfection.
The jessamine, also, with its dark-green leaves, and little silver stars, saluting us with its delicious scent through the open casement, and impregnating the whole atmosphere of the garden with its sweetness, has been sung and celebrated by so many poets, that our associations are with their numbers, rather than with any intrinsic quality in the flower itself. Indeed, whatever may have first established the rank of flowers in the poetical world, they have become to us like notes of music,. passed on from lyre to lyre; and whenever a chord is thrilled with the harmony of song, these lovely images present themselves, neither impaired in their beauty, nor exhausted of their sweetness, for having been the medium of poetic feeling ever since the world began.
It is impossible to expend a moment's thought upon the lily, without recurring to that memorable
passage in the sacred volume "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." From the little common flower called heart's ease, we turn to that well-known passage of Shakspeare, where the fairy king so beautifully describes the "little western flower." And the forget-me-not has a thousand associations tender and touching; but unfortunately, like many other sweet things, rude hands have almost robbed it of its charm. Who can behold the pale narcissus, standing by the silent brook, its stately form reflected in the glassy mirror, without losing themselves in that most fanciful of all poetical conceptions, in which the graceful youth is described as gazing upon his own beauty, until he becomes lost in admiration, and finally enamoured of himself? while hopeless Echo sighs herself away into a sound, for the love, which, having centred in such an object, was never to be bought by her caresses, nor won by her despair.
Through gardens, fields, forests, and even over rugged mountains, we might wander on in this fanciful quest after remote ideas of pleasurable sensation connected with present beauty and enjoyment; nor would our search be fruitless so long as the bosom of the earth afforded a receptacle for the germinating seed, so long as the gentle gales of summer continued to waft them from the parent
stem, or so long as the welcome sun looked forth upon the ever-blooming garden of nature.
One instance more, and we have done. The "lady rose," as poets have designated this queen of beauty, claims the latest, though not the least consideration in speaking of the poetry of flowers. In the poetic world, the first honors have been awarded to the rose; for what reason it is not easy to define, unless from its exquisite combination of perfume, form, and color, which have entitled this sovereign of flowers in one country to be mated with the nightingale in another, to be chosen with the distinction of red and white, as the badge of two honorable and royal houses. It would be difficult to trace the supremacy of the rose to its origin; but mankind have so generally agreed in paying homage to her charms, that our associations in the present day are chiefly with the poetic strains in which they are celebrated. The beauty of the rose is exhibited under so many different forms, that it would be impossible to say which had the greatest claim upon the regard of the poet; but certainly those kinds which have been recently introduced, or those which are reared by unnatural means, with care and difficulty, are to us the least poetical, because our associations with them are comparatively few, and those few relate chiefly to garden culture.
There is one circumstance connected with the rose, which renders it a more true and striking
emblem of earthly pleasure than any other flower: it bears a thorn. While its odorous breath is floating on the summer gale, and its blushing cheek, half hid amongst the sheltering leaves, seems to woo and yet shrink from the beholder's gaze, touch but with adventurous hand the garden queen, and you are pierced with her protecting thorns: would you pluck the rose, and weave it into a garland for the brow you love best, that brow will be wounded: or place the sweet blossom in your bosom, the thorn will be there. This real or ideal mingling of pain and sorrow with the exquisite beauty of the rose affords a neverending theme to those who are best acquainted with the inevitable blending of clouds and sunshine, hope and fear, weal and woe, in this our earthly inheritance.
With every thing fair, or sweet, or exquisite in this world, it has seemed meet to that wisdom. which appoints our sorrows, and sets a bound to our enjoyments, to affix some stain, some bitterness, or some alloy, which may not inaptly be called, in figurative language, a thorn. St. Paul emphatically speaks of a "thorn in the flesh;" and from this expression, as well as from his earnestness in having prayed thrice that it might be removed, we conclude it must have been something particularly galling to the natural man. We hear of the thorn of ingratitude, the thorn of envy, the thorn of unrequited love—indeed, of thorns as