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to the discovery of the grand restorative of vitiated air, of which, in my paper before referred to, I have given a particular account.
It Ver, et Venus, et Veneris prænuntius ante
Propitious Spring comes forth in bright array,
TO whatever part of the creation the Contemplative Philosopher may direct his view, he will ever find something productive of pleasure and instruction. Nature exhibits an infinity of objects, which, in beautiful succession, at once excite and gratify our natural ardour for variety. Not only each season of the year, but each part of the day, is productive of pleasures peculiar to itself. While the sun enlightens our horizon, with what unspeakable beauties does the landscape glow! How sweet the glittering dews, the woodland hymns, and brightening verdure of the morn! How delightful the meandering streams, the ruminating herds, and all the flowery beauties of
the meads, beheld from some shady recess, in the radiant height of noon! What pleasure in the social, or the solitary walk, when the evening sun descends with mitigated ray, and the western sky is arrayed in such inimitable magnificence of tints! And when the shades of night prevail, the milder glories of a moonlight scene, with all the starry heavens, shed their peculiar influence, and, with the sensations of pleasure, excite the grateful effusions of wonder and adoration. But these are delights for which the gay advocates of licentiousness and dissipation can have no taste. They are reserved, as the sweetest charm of life, for those superior minds that delight to improve and perfect the habits of virtue, by the constant pursuit and acquisition of intellectual and moral excellence.
These grateful share the gifts of Nature's hand;
And in the varied scenes that round them shine, (The fair, the rich, the awful, and the grand) Admire th' amazing workmanship divine.
Blows not a flow'ret in th' enamelled vale,
Shines not a pebble where the riv'let strays, Sports not an insect in the spicy gale,
But claims their wonder and excites their praise,
For them ev'n vernal Nature looks more gay,
For them more lively hues the fields adorn; To them more fair the fairest smile of day,
To them more sweet the sweetest breath of morn.
They feel the bliss that Hope and Faith supply;
The great progenitor of the human race, when first conscious of existence, beheld in all around him the most exquisite assemblage of rural beauty The very name of Eden, the delicious parad in which he was placed by the beneficent Creat
signifies pleasure; and the idea of pleasure is inseparable from that of a garden, in which man still seeks the happiness he has lost, and in which, perhaps, a good man may find the nearest resemblance to it that this world can afford. Hence it has been very justly observed, that the love of woods, of fields and flowers, of rivers and fountains, seems to be a passion implanted in our natures the most early of any, even before the fair sex had a being.
Flowers, the sole luxury which Nature knew,
I have ever considered flowers as the pride and glory of the creation, and the most beautiful display of Matchless Power in the vegetable kingdom. With the poets too, as the lovely attendants of Spring, they are inexhaustible sources of decoration. Not only their favourite scenes, but the incidents which they are most fond to embellish, are enriched with flowers. Thus Virgil makes the swain invite Galatea to the spot, where Spring strews the riverbank with flowers'. Homer, to adorn the bed of Jupiter, makes the Earth pour from her bosom unbidden herbs, and voluntary flowers. Milton, in a fine imitation of that passage, employs the iris, jessamine, and rose, the violet, hyacinth, and crocus, to beautify the blissful bower of Eve'. When our first parents take their evening repast, they recline on the soft downy bank damasked with flowers+ When Adam awakes Eve in the morning, it is with a voice mild as when Zephyrus breathes on Flora".
3 Par. Lost, b. iv.
1 Ecl. ix. + Ibid.
2 Iliad. b. xiv. 5 Par. Lost, b. 5.
And when he invites her to walk forth in the fields, it is to mark how the tender plants spring, how Nature plants her colours, and how the bee sits on the bloom, extracting liquid sweets'. Shakspeare, in a charming similitude, compares an exquisite strain of music, with its dying fall, to the sweet South, that breathes upon a bank of violets, stealing and giving odour 2. And, to mention no more, Thomsom, in his noble hymn at the conclusion of the Seasons, in
Par. Lost. b. v. See also his Lycidas, for a beautiful description of flowers.
2 Twelfth Night. act 1. See also his Winter's Tale. A modern poet has furnished us with a pleasing description of flowers:
Then the flowers on all their beds-
vites the flowery race to join in the general chorus of praise to the great Creator:
Soft roll your incense, herbs, and fruits and flowers,
I shall wave, at present, a scientific inquiry into the structure, parts, and properties of flowers, in order to introduce some reflections on their order of succession, and infinite variety. The attentive observer will perceive, that every plant upon earth appears in its appointed order. The God of Seasons, the God of Beauty and Excellence, hath exactly determined the time when this flower shall unfold its leaves, that spread its glowing beauties to the sun, and a third hang down its drooping head, and, withered, resign its sunny robes.' Long before the trees venture to unfold their leaves, and while Winter yet maintains his dreary reign, the snowdrop displays its milk-white flowerets to the eye:
First leader of the flowery race aspires,
Next appears the crocus, too timid yet to resist the impetuosity of the winds. With this comes the fragrant violet, the expressive emblem of that retiring goodness, which, with unostentatious hand, contributes silently to the happiness of all around. The polyanthus, too, with countless colours, and the auricula, inestimable for the exquisite richness of its powdered tints, demand the skilful culture of the florist. These, with many others which grow in foreign countries, upon the mountains, may be called, without impropriety, the vanguard of the flowery host.