Then will He not of man take heed,

Who so much beauty hath decreed

Unto the way-side flower?"-MARY HOWITT.

Perchance they may do so, but, oh! we shall love ye none the less;-none the less shall we strive to express the feelings of gratitude, and associations of pleasure, wherewith ye are so intimately blended, exclaiming,—

"O! if earth's ruined wilderness afford

So many flowers, breathing of love divine,

How gloriously that promised land must shine
That waits the followers of earth's mighty Lord!"

Fair spirits are ye-ministering angels! and he who wrote the following stanza approaches the subject with a proper feeling of reverence ;

"Flowers are holy things-the poet ever

Proud to his kind, hath bent the knee to them,
And often when his hand hath dared to sever
One of those heavenly children from its stem,
His soul hath wept, to think that it could never
Back to the casket give life's stolen gem;
Weeping that love which prompted him to seize,

As o'er dead Hylas wept the Naiades."-JOHN GRAHAM. Another writer, who has drunk deeply from the well of inspiration, says—

"And 'tis, and ever was my wish and way
To let all flowers live freely, and all die,
Whene'er their genius bids their souls depart,
Among their kindred, in their native place.
I never pluck the rose; the violet's head
Hath shaken with my breath upon its bank
And not reproached me; the ever sacred cup
Of the pure lily hath between my hands
Felt safe, unsoiled, nor lost one grain of gold."

What says JEAN PAUL RICHTER? "There are so many tender and holy emotions flying about in our inward world, which, like angels, can never assume the body of an outward act;-so many rich and lovely flowers spring up which bear no seed-that it is a happiness poetry was invented, which receives into its limbus all these incorporeal spirits, and the perfume of all these flowers." It has been our object in the foregoing pages, and will be in those which follow, to give shape and consistency to the many beautiful and holy feelings, emotions and fancies, which are drawn forth fron the human heart and brain, by the sight of flowers, to be hidden amid the delicate petals, until summoned by the call of poesy, to issue from their hiding places, and irradiate the world of nature and imagination with their divine effluence. Well has it been asked-by whom we know not-"How can the poet better employ his genius, than in giving flowers a life as sweet, more lasting, than their own?" and how, we would respond, can the moralist more faithfully perform the duties of his office, than by drawing lessons of wisdom and virtue from the most lovely objects in creation, and applying those lessons to the hearts and consciences of his fellow-creatures, endeavouring thus to make them happier and wiser ?

"With holy awe I cull the opening flower,

The hand of God hath made it, and where'er The flow'ret blooms, there God is present also." These are the words of LADY FLORA HASTINGS, and in them we recognize a spirit akin to our own; it is good to bear about with us ever a deep sense of the presence of the Creator in His works, from the mightiest to the meanest, and to be moved to devotion and praise, not

only by that which is grand and sublime, but also by the common and lowly, remembering that ;—

"Mountains and oceans, planets, suns, and systems,
Bear not the impress of Almighty power

In characters more legible than those

Which he hath written on the tiniest flower

Whose light bells bend beneath the dew-drops' weight." We know not who is the author of these fine lines, which we shall worthily follow with a practical admonition, drawn from the rich poetical treasury of simplehearted JOHN CLARE.

"O put away thy pride,

Or be ashamed of power,

That cannot turn aside

The breeze that waves a flower."

Yes! "Flowers are holy things" and meet objects of our reverence as well as admiration; they claim from us both love and homage, the former for their ineffable beauty and sweetness, and the latter for inasmuch as that they are manifestations of the divine power, skill, and goodness of Him, who hath scattered them so plentifully over the face of the earth; to whom, in all humility of spirit, we now address ourselves, in the words of Mrs. Hemans:

"O Father, Lord!

The All-beneficent! I bless thy name,

That thou hast mantled the green earth with flowers,
Linking our hearts to nature! By the love

Of their wild blossoms, our young footsteps first

Into her deep recesses are beguiled,

Her minster cells; dark glen and forest bower,
Where, thrilling with its earliest sense of thee,
Amidst the low religious whisperings,
The shivery leaf sounds of the solitude,
The spirit wakes to worship, and is made

Thy living temple. By the breath of flowers,
Thou callest us, from city throngs and cares,
Back to the woods, the birds, the mountain streams,
That sing of Thee! back to free childhood's heart,
Fresh with the dews of tenderness !-thou bidd'st
The lilies of the field with placid smile

Reprove man's feverish strivings, and infuse
Through his worn soul a more unworldly life,
With their soft holy breath. Thou hast not left
His purer nature, with its fine desires,
Uncared for in this universe of Thine!
The glowing rose attests it, the beloved

Of poet hearts, touched by their fervent dreams
With spiritual light, and made a source

Of heaven-ascending thoughts. E'en to faint age
Thou lend'st the vernal bliss:-the old man's eye
Falls on the kindling blossoms, and his soul
Remembers youth and love, and hopefully
Turns unto thee, who call'st earth's buried germs
From dust to splendour; as the mortal seed
Shall, at thy summons, from the grave spring up
To put on glory, to be girt with power,

And filled with immortality. Receive

Thanks, blessings, love, for these, thy lavish boons,
And, most of all, their heavenward influences,
O Thou that gavest us flowers!"

[blocks in formation]

HE who delights to trace, with serious thought, In all he sees the noiseless steps of TIME, Shall find the outward forms of nature fraught With ample food for many a lofty rhyme: Or should he fear such dazzling heights to climb, And love to tread a less aspiring way,Leaving untouch'd the awful and sublime, And seeking humbler objects to portray, May find in such the theme of many a pleasing Lay.


What, though the glorious Sun, enthron'd on high,
May more conspicuously the lesson teach;
Or Moon and Stars, which gem the midnight sky,
A yet more touching homily may preach,

As Day to Day still utters ceaseless speech,

And Night to Night yet added knowledge shows, Far lowlier objects to the heart may reach,

And wisdom purest precepts may disclose,

Cull'd from The Lily's bloom, or gather'd from The Rose!

« 上一页继续 »