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And many Herods lie in wait each hour,
SIR RICHARD FANSHAW'.
As an appropriate companion to this exquisite sonnet to the queen of flowers,' we cannot resist quoting the beautiful address of the Teian bard; we here give a part of it in the free, but elegant, version of Mr. THOMAS MOORE:
While we invoke the wreathed spring,
• Ellis's Specimens of the Early English Poets, vol. iii, p. 221.
Through Cytherea's form it glows,
This beautiful flower, however, experiences a milder fate in more southern climes, particularly in some parts of Italy; there, the rose.
Unbent by winds, unchilled by snows, Far from the winters of the west, By every breeze and season blest, Returns the sweets by Nature given In softest incense back to heaven; And grateful yields that smiling sky Her fairest hue and fragrant sigh. In this month of flowers, it will not, perhaps, be displeasing to our readers to peruse a slight sketch of the History of Flower Gardens,' as well as an account of the extraordinary tulipomania of the Dutch in the middle of the seventeenth century.
'Odes of Anacreon, by Thomas Moore, p. 188, 4to edit.
2 We have yet one more tribute to offer to the beautiful rose; it is from the pen of that great statesman and accomplished scholar, CHARLES JAMES FOX :
The Rose, the sweetly blooming Rose,
Is like the charms which Beauty shows,
But, oh! how soon its sweets are gone,
So when the Eve of Life comes on,
Then, since the fairest form that's made
Let us possess what ne'er will fade,
It does not appear that either the Greeks or Romans indulged a taste for flowers; none at least that would imply their having gardens set apart for the culture of these pleasing objects; or that they ever endeavoured to improve their own wild and indigenous plants, or imported others from foreign countries. We can only consider the florid description of the garden of Alcinous as the effusion of poetry; and those of Cicero and Pliny were only vineyards with grottos, alcoves, and arbours. It is not in fact above two centuries ago that our own gardens were, probably, in point of taste as well as of products, even inferior to those of the Greeks and Romans: and, for most of the embellishments we now possess of flower-beds, shrubberies, and conservatories, we are indebted to foreign countries.
The nations among whom a taste for flowers was first discovered to prevail in modern times were China, Persia, and Turkey. The vegetable treasures of the eastern world were assembled at Constantinople, whence they passed into Italy, Germany, and Holland; and from the latter into England: and since botany has assumed the character of a science, we have laid the whole world under contribution for trees and shrubs and flowers, which we have not only made our own, but generally improved in vigour and beauty. The passion for flowers preceded that of ornamental gardening, which still continued to be totally destitute of taste. The Dutch system of straight walks, inclosed by high clipped hedges of yew or holly, every where prevailed; and tulips and hyacinths bloomed under the sheltered windings of the Walls of Troy,' most ingeniously traced in box.
Let not unhallowed shears profane the form,
Hath given to all the vegetable tribes.
Of plans by line and compass, rules abhorred
Its pleasing wildness to the garden walk;
Notwithstanding all the ridicule that has been directed against Brown and Repton, we are certainly indebted to them, in no small degree, for expelling the stiff formality of the Dutch system of ornamental gardening, and enlarging our prospects by the exchange of walls and high trimmed hedges for the sunk-fence. But the person who succeeded best in bringing us back to the point nearest to nature was Kent. It was he who, as Walpole observed, chastened or polished, not transformed, the living landscape: where the united plumage of an antient wood extended wide its undulating canopy, and stood venerable in darkness, Kent thinned the foremost ranks, and left but so many detached and scattered trees as softened the approach of gloom, and blended the chequered light with the thus lengthened shadows of the remaining columns.' From his time, the taste in pleasure-grounds, shrubberies, and ornamental gardening, has gradually improved, and may now be said to have reached a degree of excellence in this island unrivalled in any other part of the world.
The earliest of these improvements, says the poet,
In Chiswick's beauteous model seen,
Where through romantic scenes of hanging woods,
And vallies green, and rocks, and hollow dales,
It is certain that no nation on earth can boast that assemblage of various kinds of shrubs and flowers. now to be found in Great Britain.
Happy the swain,
Whom taste and nature leading o'er his fields,
Most countries have a predilection for some particular plants, while all the rest are disregarded. In Turkey, for instance, the flowers which, after the rose, are principally esteemed, are the ranunculus and the tulip, the latter of which grows wild in the Levant; but, through accident, weakness, or disease, few plants acquire so many tints, variegations, and figures, as the tulip. This gaudy flower was first cultivated in Italy about the middle of the sixteenth