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was to tend the flowers, to prune the luxuriant branches, and support the roses, heavy with beauty (see Roses, page 323). Poets have taken pleasure in painting gardens in all the brilliancy of imagination. See the garden of Alcinous, in Homer's Odyssey; those of Morgana, Alcina, and Armida, in the Italian poets: the gardens fair
“Of Hesperus and his daughters three
Who sing about the golden tree:”
and Proserpina's garden, and the Bower of Bliss in Spenser's Fairie Queene. The very mention of their names seems to embower one in leaves and blossoms.
It is a matter of some taste to arrange a bouquet of flowers judiciously; even in language, we have a finer idea of colours, when such are placed together as look well together in substance. Do we read of white, purple, red, and yellow flowers, they do not present to us so exquisite a picture, as if we read of yellow and purple, white and red. Their arrangement has been happily touched upon by some of our poets:
-- th' Azores send
“ tibi lilia plenis
Pallentes violas et summa papavera carpens,
VIRGIL, Eclogue 2.
“ Behold the nymphs bring thee lilies in full baskets : for thee fair Nais, cropping the pale violets and heads of poppies, joins the narcissus, and flower of sweet-smelling anise: then, interweaving them with cassia and other fragrant herbs, sets off the soft hyacinth with the saffron marygold.”
Drayton runs riot on the subject: a nymph in his Muse's Elysium says,
“ Here damask-roses, white and red,
Out of my lap first take 1,
The lily and the fleur-de-lis,
“ So did the maidens with their various flowers
their windows and make neat their bowers:
What is here said on the subject of arrangement is of course addressed to those who are unacquainted with botany; those who study that delightful science will, most probably, prefer a botanical arrangement, observing however to place the smaller plants of each division next the spectator, and thus proceeding gradually to the tallest and most distant; so that the several divisions will form stripes irregular in their width.
The exertions of Lamarcke and the Jussieus have now so improved the ancient and original method of arranging plants by their natural affinities to each other, that most of the young botanists have adopted it. The only work in which this truly scientific method is applied to all the plants growing wild in the British islands is Gray's Natural Arrangement; which also contains an Introduction to Botany in general, on a more extensive scale than Withering's, as it includes the explanation of all the new terms which have been lately introduced into botany by the cultivators of the natural system.
Although it is true that near London plants in general will not thrive so well as in a purer air, and that people in the country have usually some portion of ground to make a garden of, yet such persons as are condemned to a town life will do well to obtain whatever substitute for a garden may be in their power; for there is confessedly no greater folly than that of refusing all pleasure, because we cannot have all we desire. In Venice, where the nature of the place is such as to afford no garden ground, it is common to see the windows filled with pots, and they have a market for the sale of them. Those who can afford it, indeed, have gardens elsewhere; but by far the greater number are obliged to content themselves with a portable garden. A lover of flowers, who cannot have a garden or a greenhouse, will gladly cherish any thing that has the aspect of a green leaf;
.“ These serve him with a hint That Nature lives: that sight-refreshing green Is still the livery she delights to wear, Though sickly samples of th' exuberant whole. What are the casements lined with creeping herbs, The prouder sashes fronted with a range Of orange, myrtle, or the fragrant weed, The Frenchman's darling *? Are they not all proofs, That man immured in cities, still retains His inborn, inextinguishable thirst
Of rural scenes, compensating his loss
With this passage, which brings us round to the direct object of this little work, it will be as well for me to conclude the preface. I am as fond of books as of flowers ; but in all that regards authorship, I fear I am as little able to produce the one, as to create the others. I therefore hasten to the more mechanical part of my work, and to the
; kind aid of my quotations. I shall only add, if any body would like to have additional authority for the cultivation of a few domestic flowers, that Gray, with all his love of the grander features of nature, and all his nice sense of his own dignity, did not think it beneath him to supply the want of a larger garden with flower-pots in his windows, to look to them entirely himself, and to take them in, with all due tenderness, of an evening. See his delightful letters to his friends.
For a poetical translation of some quotations, of which there was before either no English version, or none that did justice to the original, as well as for some general corrections, &c. I am indebted to the assistance of a friend, whose kindness I most gratefully and somewhat proudly acknowledge, in sparing a few hours from his own important studies, to give this little volume some pretension to public notice.
Although no other flowers are considered in this work, but those usually grown in pots; yet this comprises a larger collection than most persons are likely to cultivate. They indeed who are much attached to the beauties of the vegetable tribes may add others not here mentioned, go very deep into the science of botany, and yet keep within the limits of a garden of pots. Some even of the most scientific botanists prefer a domestic garden of this kind.