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- Seasons of Thoreau
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The changes from Winter to Spring, and from a time of war to that of peace, are here very happily compared. But in our Flower legends Herrick will be heard to greatest advantage; in grace, fancy, and the most melodious cadences of verse, he is unrivalled, either by old or modern writers. The gallant and graceful Earl Surrey, the lover of the fair Geraldine, has dedicated one of his sweetest sonnets to "A Description of Spring, in which eche thing renews, save only the lover. Of all the attributes of Spring, Flowers take the precedence; the very mention of "the soote season" brings with it the thought of the "bud and bloom" that form its chiefest beauty, and ere.
How gracefully linked together in perfect poesy are the few sweet Spring Flowers which our divine Shakspeare represents the fair Perdita as wishing for to present to her guests—. Daffodils That come before the swallow dares, and take The winds of March with beauty. Violets, dim, But sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes, Or Cytherea's breath. Bold oxlips, and The crown-imperial; lilies of all kinds, The flower-de-luce being one. Ben Jonson—" rare Ben Jonson"—has a most beautiful scene in "Pan's Anniversary," where all the flowers familiarly known are thus lightly yet richly grouped.
Strew, strew the glad and smiling ground With every flower, yet not confound. Well done, my pretty ones—rain roses still, Until the last be dropt; then hence, and fill Your fragrant prickles for a second shower. Bring corn-flags, tulips, and Adonis-flower, Fair ox-eye, goldy-locks, and columbine, Pinks, goulands, king-cups, and sweet sops-in-wine, Blue hare-bells, pagles, pansies, calaminth, Flower-gentle, and the fair-haired hyacinth, Bring rich carnations, flower-de-luces, lilies, The chequed and purple-ringed daffodillies, Bright crown-imperial, kingspear, hollyhocks, Sweet Venus'-navel, and soft lady-smocks, Bring too some branches forth of Daphne's hair, And gladdest myrtle for these posts to wear, With spikenard weaved, and marjoram between, And starred with yellow golds, and meadow's queen, That when the altar, as it ought, is drest, More odour comes not from the phoenix' nest, The breath thereof Panchaia may envy, The colours China, and the light the sky.
Besides "eye of the day," it was also named "marguerite," a pearl, under which title it is celebrated by Chaucer. Chaucer's love of the daisy is most fully and beautifully expressed in the "Prologue to the Legende of goode Women," one of the many gems we find in his works. He describes his great fondness for study, and how he delights in reading his "olde bookes," for which he has such faith and credence that no sport nor game can entice him away from them,.
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Save certainly, whan that the month of Maie Is comen, and that I hear the foules sing, And that the floures ginnen for to spring, Farewell my booke, and my devocion: Now have I than eke this condicion, That of all the floures in the mede Than love I most these flowres white and rede, Soch that men callen Daisies in our toun, To hem I have so great affectioun, As I sayd erst, whan comen is the Maie, That in my bedde there daweth me no daie, That I n'am up and walking in the mede To see this floure ayenst the Sunne sprede; Whan it up riseth early by the morrow, That blissful sight softeneth all my sorrow.
So glad am I, whan that I have presence Of it to done it alle reverence, As she that is of alle floures the floure, Fulfilled of all vertue and honoure, And ever ylike faire, and fresh of hewe, And ever I love it, and ever ylike newe, And ever shall, till that mine herte die, Alle sweare I not, of this I wool not lie. As soon as ever the Sunne ginneth west To seen this floure, how it will goe to rest, For feare of night, so hateth she darknesse, Her chere is plainly spred in the brightness Of the Sunne, for there it woll unclose:. He then complains that he has neither rhyme nor prose "suffisaunt this floure to praise aright," and describes his eagerness to go forth into the fields before sunrise, to wait the "resurection" of the days-eye.
And doune on knees anon right I me sette, And as I could, this freshe floure I grette, Kneeling alway, till it unclosed was, Upon the smale, softe, swete gras, That was with floures swete embrouded all, Of soch swetenesse, and soch odour all, That for to speake of gomme, herbe or tree, Comparison may not ymaked be, For it surmounteth plainly all odoures, And of the rich beaute of the floures:.
And leaning on my elbow and my side The longe day I shope me to abide, For nothing els, and I shall not lie, But for to looke upon the daisie, That well by reason men it calle may, The daisie, or else the iye of the day, The Emprise, and floure of floures all, I pray to God that faire mote she fall, And all that loven floures for her sake:. Whan that the Sunne out of the south gan west, And that this floure gan close, and gan to rest; For darkness of the night, the which she dred, Home to mine house full swiftly I me sped, To gone to rest, and earely for to rise, To seene this floure to sprede, as I devise.
The daisy has never received homage like Chaucer's; nor has any flower Shakspeare's Love-in-idleness alone excepted become so entirely associated with a poet's fame. How simply, and how lovingly he paints his affection for this darling of the year! A beautiful portrait of a gentle, happy, and truly poetic mind may be found in Chaucer's passages descriptive of his own habits and fancies; and yet, comparatively, his works are known to but a small portion of readers, and are but little appreciated, chiefly for want of the attention at first required to understand the varying accents and form the correct rhythm in reading them.
His poems are so replete with beauties, and so thoroughly English in spirit, that they must , ere long, occupy that place among familiar favourites which they have so long in vain deserved. Without the bed her other fair hand was, On the green coverlet; whose perfect white Showed like an April daisy on the grass. To our flower-loving Herrick I must be indebted for the last specimen of daisy eulogy which I shall quote here; it is a sweet melodious little fancy, and, as is usual in such compositions of his day, conveys a very elegant compliment to his mistress.
Among the poetic groups of Spring Flowers, culled from the rich parterre of Britain's noble and immortal Bards, I cannot omit the following exquisite description of the vernal season, by Gawain Douglas, Bishop of Dunkeld. The epithets in it are often peculiarly happy; but to those of my readers who think Chaucer's language obscure, these truly beautiful lines will seem utterly unintelligible, even with the glossary appended. And blissful blossoms in the bloomed sward Submit their heads in the young sun's safe-guard: Ivy-leaves rank overspread the Barmekyn  wall; The bloomed hawthorn clad his pykis  all Forth of fresh burgeons  ; the wine-grapis ying Endlong the twistis did on trestles hing.
Beholdand them so many divers hue, Some pers  , some pale, some burnet  , and some blue, Some grey, some gules  , some purpure, some sanguene, Blanchet  or brown, fauch-yellow  many ane. The flower-de-luce forth spread his heavenly hue, Flower-damas  , and columbo black and blue. Sere downis smale on dandelion sprung, The young green bloomed strawberry leaves among: Gimp gilliflowers their own leaves un-shet  ; Fresh primrose, and the purpure violet.
The rose-knobbis tetand  forth their head, Gan chip, and kyth  their vernal lippis red; Crisp scarlet leaves sheddand, baith at anes, Cast fragrant smell amid from golden grains. Leaving the old Bards, I shall now introduce one of the loveliest flower scenes ever painted by poet's pen, and which has few rivals, even among the bright and beautiful creations of its author. We find Shelley, too, lavishing words of praise and fondness on the daisy. How exquisitely descriptive is the epithet "pearled Arcturi of the earth, the constellated flower that never sets;" the association of true and beautiful ideas is the happiest that can be conceived in so few words.
The pearl-like whiteness of the flower; the name "Arcturi," from the star Arcturus, which is always visible to our hemisphere, as the daisy is ever in bloom; and the term "constellated flower," so beautifully realizing the starry groups in which they are seen clustering together, are ideas as truly as they are poetically emblematical of the subject.
Primroses and cowslips have ever been in high favour with the sovereigns of song. The Swedish name of the former, majnycklar , or the key of May, is very characteristic of the sudden arrival of Summer in high latitudes. The primrose comes, and, as if it unlocked the treasure-house of earth, all the other bright gifts of the season follow close upon it.
And Herrick celebrates their meek, young beauty in one of his most musical, melancholy strains:. Why doe ye weep, sweet babes?
Seasons of Thoreau
The cowslip bells are generally named by poets as the resort of fairies; Shakspeare's "dainty Ariel" sings—. The cowslips tall her pensioners be; In their gold coats' spots you see; Those be rubies, fairy favours, In those freckles live their savours: I must go seek some dewdrops here, And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.
The soft delicate blue of the bells hanging gracefully from the tall stem, and its waving leaves of bright green, which grow in great profusion, render it conspicuously beautiful; nor is its odour unworthy of its appearance. I intended to introduce portraits of the primrose and blue-bell, grouped, among the illustrations of Spring; but having exceeded the number of plates, that drawing, among others, is omitted.
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It is remarkable that two flowers, so distinct from each other as the Spring blue-bell and the fragile harebell of Autumn, should be so frequently described as one and the same flower. No one thinks of mistaking a snowdrop for a lily, and yet these two blue-bells are more unlike.
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Two more popular favourites among Spring's rainbowed children are the celandine and buttercup; and their bright golden faces tell us many a tale of infancy and happiness,—of the time "when daisies and buttercups gladdened our sight like treasures of silver and gold. The modest "tender-hued wood-sorrel" gives to the lane its "neat enamelling," with its triple crimson-lined leaves and soft blossoms.
The pink hawthorn is an elegant and brilliant ornament to the lawn or shrubbery, and forms a beautiful kind of raspberry-and-cream contrast to the white; but our affection is for the hedge-row hawthorn, the true "May," whose lavish wealth of flowers and fragrance in Spring adds to our lovely scenery a charm peculiarly English.
Gives not the hawthorn-bush a sweeter shade To shepherds looking on their silly sheep Than doth a rich embroider'd canopy To kings, that fear their subjects' treachery? Though I have devoted so large a space to eulogies of the hawthorn, I cannot quit the subject without quoting a stanza from my graceful favourite, Herrick, also commemorating the ceremonies used in the merry olden-time on May-day. Much do I regret that such good and poetical festivities have become nearly obselete. Many of the sports and pastimes of our ancestors would now be unsuited to their more cultivated descendants; but such as bring us into close communion with Nature's loveliness and glory must, of necessity, be yet more highly enjoyed as our minds become more elevated and capable of comprehending, appreciating, and, above all, heartily feeling the delightful influence of the harmony and beauty of creation.
Get up, get up, for shame, the blooming morne Upon her wings presesents the god unshoroe. Wash, dresse, be brief in praying; Few beads are best, when once we goe a Maying.
Is not this exquisitely beautiful? I know of nothing, on a similar subject, which may bear a comparison with the sweetness, fancy, and delicate elegance of these lines.
http://objectifcoaching.com/components/tarrant/match-france-maroc.php They are soft and musical enough to have been breathed out in the chime of Lily-bells. The melody of Herrick's true poetry is, to my mind, almost unequalled—Shelly alone rivals him; and, as Shelley's poetry is of a far loftier character, a comparison may not well be drawn between them. Next to the hawthorn-bloom, the lilac and laburnum contribute most to the adornment of the glad earth at this festive season; and right gaily do they deck her out, with their countless clusters of ameythst and showers of gold.
Spring is cerainly the season of England's greatest beauty. The vine-wreathed Autumn of southern climes may, and must be, rich and rare; but we will not envy them while our own dear Land has her fairy-like realm of orchards in blossom, and in loveliness, as in fame, is a queen indeed.
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What can be more luxuriantly picturesque than the appearance of the world of Flowers which our cider counties display at this season? Indeed, the small garden orchards attached to road-side cottages all over England are gems of beauty. The various tints and texture of the blossoms, from the pure white of the pear and cherry to the deep rose-coloured buds of the apple and crab, and the young delicate green of the just opening leaves, do truly seem like a festal robe worn by the joyous earth in honour of the Spring-time.
The Broom too, "the bonny, bonny Broom," waves it slender sprays in the soft breeze, and we look from the gay, gold-coloured butterfly-blossoms it bears on the walls, to the small and more delicate white ones of the gardens, and know not which are most beautiful. The Guelder Rose trees look as if overburthened with their globes of silvery flowers; and the aromatic Syringo breathes afar off her delicious perfume, which emulates in sweetness, as her flowers do in beauty, the famed orange blossoms of southern lands.