صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

And many Herods lie in wait each hour,
To murder thee as soon as thou art born,
Nay, force thy bud to blow, their tyrant breath
Anticipating life, to hasten death.


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,
Resplendent ROSE! to thee we'll sing-
Resplendent ROSE, the flower of flowers,
Whose breath perfumes Olympus' bowers;
Whose virgin blush, of chastened dye,
Enchants so much our mortal eye.
When pleasure's bloomy season glows,
The Graces love to twine the rose ;
The rose is warm Dione's bliss,
And flushes like Dione's kiss!
Oft has the poet's magic tongue
The rose's fair luxuriance sung;
And long the Muses, heavenly maids,
Have reared it in their taneful shades.
When, at the early glance of morn,
It sleeps upon the glittering thorn,
'Tis sweet to dare the tangled fence,
To cull the timid flow'ret thence,
And wipe with tender hand away
The tear that on its blushes lay!
'Tis sweet to hold the infant stems
Yet drooping with Aurora's gems,
And fresh inhale the spicy sighs
That from the weeping buds arise.
When revel reigns, when mirth is high,
And Bacchus beams in every eye,
Our rosy fillets scent exhale,
And fill with balm the fainting gale!
Oh! there is naught in nature bright
Where roses do not shed their light!
When morning paints the orient skies,
Her fingers burn with roseate dyes;
The nymphs display the rose's charms,
It mantles o'er their graceful arms;

• Ellis's Specimens of the Early English Poets, vol. iii, p. 221.

Through Cytherea's form it glows,
And mingles with the living snows.
The rose distils a healing balm,
The beating pulse of pain to calm.;
Preserves the cold inurned clay,
And mocks the vestige of decay.
And when at length, in pale decline,
Its florid beauties fade and pine,
Sweet as in youth, its balmy breath
Diffuses odour even in death'!

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,
Ere from the tree it's torn,

Is like the charms which Beauty shows,
In Life's exulting morn!

But, oh! how soon its sweets are gone,
How soon it withering lies!

So when the Eve of Life comes on,
Sweet Beauty fades and dies:

Then, since the fairest form that's made
Soon withering we shall find,

Let us possess what ne'er will fade,
The beauties of the Mind!



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,
Which Heaven's own hand, with symmetry divine,

Hath given to all the vegetable tribes.
Banish the regular deformity

Of plans by line and compass, rules abhorred
In nature's free plantations; and restore

Its pleasing wildness to the garden walk;
The calm serene recess of thoughtful man,
In meditation's silent sacred hour.


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,
In Richmond's venerable woods and wilds,
The calm retreat, where wearied majesty,
Unbending from his cares for Britain's peace,
Steals a few moments to indulge his own.
On Oatlands' brow, where grandeur sits enthroned,
Smiling on beauty. In the lovely vale
Of Esher, where the Mole glides lingering, loth
To leave such scenes of sweet simplicity.
In Woburn's ornamented fields, where gay
Variety, where mingled lights and shades,
Where lawns and groves, and opening prospects break,
With sweet surprise, upon the wand'ring eye:
On Hagley's hills, irregular and wild,

Where through romantic scenes of hanging woods,

And vallies green, and rocks, and hollow dales,
While echo talks, and nymphs and dryads play,
We rove enamoured.


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,
Conduct to ev'ry rural beauty. See!
Before his footsteps winds the waving walk,
Here gently rising, there descending slow
Through the tall grove, or near the water's brink,
Where flowers besprinkled paint the shelving bank,
And weeping willows bend to kiss the stream.
Now wandering o'er the lawn he roves, and now
Beneath the hawthorn's secret shade reclines;
Where purple violets hang their bashful heads,
Where yellow cowslips, and the blushing pink,
Their mingled sweets and lovely hues combine.
Now lost
Amid a gloomy wilderness of shrubs,
The golden orange, arbute ever green;
The early-blooming almond, feathery pine,
Fair opulus, to spring, to autumn dear,
And the sweet shades of varying verdure, caught
From soft Acacia's gently waving branch,
Heedless he wanders: while the grateful scents
Of sweet-briar, roses, honeysuckles wild,
Regale the smell; and to th' enchanted eye
Mezereon's purple, laurustinus white,
And pale laburnum's pendent flowers display
Their different beauties.


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

[blocks in formation]
« السابقةمتابعة »