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"A letter comes just gathered: we
Dote on its tender brilliancy;
Inhale its delicate expression

Of balm and pea; and its confession
Made with as sweet a maiden blush
As ever morn bedewed in bush ;
And then, when we have kissed its wit,
And heart, in water putting it,
To keep its remarks fresh, go round
Our little eloquent plot of ground,
And with delighted hands compose
Our answer, all of lily and rose,
Of tuberose and of violet,

And little darling (mignonette),

And gratitude and polyanthus,

And flowers that say, "Felt never man thus !"

How the flowers may be made to hold a conversation, Christine Pire tells us in the following dialogue :


"I give to thee the Autumn rose,
Let it say how dear thou art;
All my lips dare not disclose,
Let it whisper to thy heart;
How love draws my soul to thee,
Without language thou may'st see.


"I give to thee the aspen-leaf-
'Tis to show I tremble still
When I muse on all the grief

Love can cause, if false or ill;
How, too, many have believed,
Trusted long, and being deceived.




"I give to thee a faded wreath,
Teaching thee, alas! too well,
How I spent my latest breath,
Seeking all my truth to tell;
But thy coldness made me die
Victim of thy cruelty.


"I give to thee the honey-flower,
Courteous, best, and bravest knight:
Fragrant in the summer shower,
Shrinking from the sunny light:
May it not an emblem prove
Of untold, but tender love ?"

Flowers also are used for divination.

Göthe will remember Marguerite's flower.

All readers of

The American

poet Lowell sends the following pretty lines on the subject, with a pressed flower :

"This little flower from afar,

Hath come from other lands to thine;
For once its white and drooping star
Could see its shadow in the Rhine.

"Perchance some fair-haired German maid
Hath plucked one from the self-same stalk,
And numbered over, half afraid,

Its petals in her evening walk.

"He loves me, loves me not!' she cries;
'He loves me more than earth or heaven!'
And then glad tears have filled her eyes
To find the number was uneven.

"And thou must count its petals well,
Because it is a gift from me :
And the last one of all shall tell
Something I've often told to thee.

"But here at home, where we were born
Thou wilt find flowers just as true,
Down-bending every Summer morn
With freshness of New England dew.

"For Nature, ever kind to love,

Hath granted them the same sweet tongue,

Whether with German skies above,

Or here our granite rocks among."

There is another mode, resembling the Scottish and

English superstitions on Hallowe'en and St. Agnes' Eve, by which maidens in Germany seek to dive into futurity. It is by the St. John's Wort. The story is prettily told in these lines, which we transcribe from the “Flora Symbolica:"

"The young maid stole through the cottage door,
And blushed as she sought the plant of power;
'Thou silver glowworm, O lend me thy light,
I must gather the mystic St. John's-wort to-night;
The wonderful herb, whose leaf will decide
If the coming year shall make me a bride !'
And the glowworm came

With its silvery flame,

And sparkled and shone

Thro' the night of St. John;

And soon as the young maid her love-knot tied,

"With noiseless tread

To her chamber she sped,

Where the spectral moon her white beams shed.
'Bloom here, bloom here, thou plant of power,
To deck the young bride in her bridal hour?'
But it drooped its head, that plant of power,
And died the mute death of the voiceless flower;
And a withered wreath on the ground it lay,
More meet for a burial than bridal day.
And when a year was past away,

All pale on her bier the young maid lay!

And the glowworm came

With its silvery flame,

And sparkled and shone

Thro' the night of St. John;

And they closed the cold grave o'er the maid's cold clay."

Games also are made of flowers. In fact, time would fail to tell of all the joy and beauty which these sweet creations bestow upon humanity. Through life to death they cheer us; and it is not one of the least of our anticipated joys hereafter that we shall dwell amid those flowers of Paradise, of which these earthly blossoms are but faint shadows.

And in these days of utility, when a thing is nothing if not useful, we must remind our readers that the vegetable and floral world holds in it the secret of health to a greater degree, we believe, than is yet dreamt of in our philosophy. They make the air we breathe pure and lifegiving. It is a known fact that Lavender and many other flowers supply ozone to the atmosphere; the humble Lichen was one of the ingredients in the dye of imperial purple, for which Tyre and Sidon were famous; and the search for it brought Phoenician commerce to the Irish shores in the days of Ptolemy. Another Lichen, the Rocella tinctoria, afforded the first dye for British broad cloths. The Mosses shared in this utility.

The Dandelion affords the Taraxacum, a valuable medicine. The tubers called "Lords and ladies," dear to babyhood, furnish a species of arrowroot. The tubers of the Orchis afford a similar preparation called salep, a favourite posset with our great-grandmothers.

The Rock Samphire bestows a pickle on our tables. The Red rose leaf is an admirable tonic; the Lily leaf heals a cut. Chamomile is a tonic. Cowslip affords a

wine and a pudding, besides an infant's ball; the Lesser Celandine is still used in medicine for the relief of a painful disease; and who is ignorant of the blessed soothing powers of the Poppy and Henbane? Greek mythology has left a floral record; and beautiful blossoms are also memorials of our country's past: the Mistletoe, Vervain, and St. John's Wort recal Druidic rites of ancient Britain. Julius Cæsar has recorded the beauty of our hedge roses; the grandest dynasty of our kings was named from a plant (the Broom, or Plantagenista); York and Lancaster fought under a white and red rose. The banished Henry Bolingbroke had previously adopted as

his badge the "Forget-me-not."

The Hawthorn was

assumed by the Tudors as their especial insignia, in remembrance of the crown which they gained at Bosworth being found hanging on a Thorn.

Thus we may give with a bouquet memories of mythology, history, usefulness, beauty, and fragrance; and in modern times we have added to the ancient claims of flowers that of language-a gift bestowed on them by the East, and transplanted thence by one of the most gifted of Englishwomen, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.

In our Floral Gift we have endeavoured to unite all this goodly heritage of flower-land. And with these few lines of introduction, we leave them to their worthy chroniclers-the Poets.

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