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But this small flower, to nature dear,
It smiles upon the lap of May,
The purple heath and golden broom,
But this bold floweret climbs the hill,
Within the garden's cultured round
The lambkin crops its crimson gem,
'Tis Flora's page —in every place,
On waste and woodland, rock and plain,
Its humble buds unheeded rise;
The rose has but a summer-reign j
The Daisy never dies. Montgomery.
"Take (says Rousseau) one of those little flowers which cover all the pastures, and which everybody knows by the name of daisy. Look at it well; for I am sure you would not have guessed, by its appearance, that this flower, which is so small and delicate, is really composed of between two and three hundred flowers, all of them perfect; that is, having each its corolla, stamens, pistil, and fruit. Every one of those leaves which are white above and red underneath, and form a kind of crown round the flower, appearing to be nothing more than little petals, are in reality so many true flowers; and every one of those tiny yellow things also, which you see in the centre, and which at first you have, perhaps, taken for nothing but stamens, are real flowers. If you were accustomed to botanical dissections and were armed with a good glass, and plenty of patience, it would be easy to convince you of this. But you may at least pull out one of the white leaves from the flower: you will at first think that it is flat from one end to the other; but look carefully at the end by which it was fastened to the flower, and you will see that this end is not flat, but round and hollow, in form of a tube, and that a little thread, ending in two horns, issues from the tube; this thread is the forked style of the flower, which, as you now see, is flat only at the top.
Next look at those yellow things in the middle of the flower, and which as I have told you are all so many flowers; if the flower be sufficiently advanced, you will see several of them open in the middle, and even cut into several parts. These are monopetalous corollas, which expand; and a glass will easily discover in them the pistil, and even the anthers with which it is surrounded. Commonly the yellow florets towards the centre are still rounded and closed. These, however, are flowers like the others, but not yet open; for they expand successively from the edge inwards. This is enough to show you by the eye, the possibility that all these small affairs, both white and yellow, may be so many distinct flowers; and this is a constant fact. You perceive, nevertheless, that all these little flowers are pressed, and enclosed in a calyx which is common to them all, and which is that of the daisy. In considering then the whole daisy as one flower, we give it a very significant name when we call it a composite flower."
Lastly, we have
DAISIES FOR THE DEAD.
Peeps not a snow-drop in the bower,
Where never froze the spring?
The half-blown daisy bring!
Yes, lay the daisy's little head,
Beside the little cheek;
The childless cannot speak! Elliott.
"We have gathered our "handful of daisies" but are we satisfied? No, so full are these early spring meadows already of fresh grass and budding flowers, breathing out their delicate vernal odours, that our hearts yearn after farther wanderings among the fields of nature and of poetry, and wnilst the fleecy clouds are careering above our heads, and the cawing of noisy rooks is in our ears, and our feet are buried in fresh herbage, and the whole year begins to "grow lush in juicy stalks," let us listen a little longer how the poets have gathered sweet fancies and quaint teachings from these gentle ever-recurring objects in long past years as well as yesterday.
And first let us have the words of a young poet, a true worshipper in the Temple of Nature:
Within a wood, no farther from the sea
Here still are old Herrick's
PRIMROSES FILLED WITH MORNING DEW.
Why doe ye weep, sweet babes? Can tears
Speak griefe in you.
Who were but borne
That marres a flower;
Nor felt th' unkind
Or Wrapt, as we,
Speak, whimp'ring younglings; and make known
By your teares shed,
Here in this old croft, nodding to the breeze, are again flowers from Herrick:
Fair daffodils, we weep to see
Yon haste away so soon;As yet the early rising sun Has not attain'd his noon.
Until the hasting day
We have short time to stay as you,
We have as short a spring;
Like to the summer's rain;
And who does not recal with joy "Wordsworth's poem to the same beautiful objects ?—
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vale and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle in the milky way,
Along the margin of a bay;
The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee;
In such a jocund company;
For oft when on my couch I lie,
In vacant or in pensive mood,
Which is the bliss of solitude.
And now, as Miss Mitford on this occasion prefers to be alone, ere we return home let us invisibly accompany her
"March 27th.—It is a dull grey morning, with a dewy feeling in the air; fresh, but not windy; cool, but not cold; the very day for a person newly arrived from the heat, the glare, the noise, and the fever of London, to plunge into the remotest labyrinths of the country, and regain the repose of mind, the calmness of heart, which has been lost in that great battle. I must go violeting—it is a necessity —and I must go alone.
* * * The common that I am now passing—the Lea, as it is called—is one of the loveliest spots near my house.