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flowers ebook: 


 

The Flowers Personified 1847


   

now available in paperback Volume I

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more information

Flower Names
Flower Meaning
Flower Fairy Tales


The Flowers Personified introduction

The Flowers
The hand-colored plates

The Flower Fairy
How and why the Flowers became human

The Story of Two Shepherdesses,
the Blonde and the Brunette: and of a Queen of France

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
[6] [7] [8] [9] [10]
(Bluebottle, Corn poppy and Lily)

The Poet Jacobus Supposed He Had Found a Subject For An Epic Poem
(Pansy)  The secret language of flowers

Alphabetical list of Flower names in English, French & Latin with Meaning

Alphabetical list of Flower Meanings

Flora Timekeeping
Flora's Clock
The Floral Week
The Calendar of Flora

A Trick of the Flower Fairy
(Tobacco)

The Sultana Tulipia
[1] [2] [3] [4]
(Tulip)

Fragments Taken at Random from the album of the rose
[1] [2] [3] [4]
[5] [6] [7] [8] [9]
(Rose)

NARCISSA
(Daffodil)

Serious Displute In Relation to the Violet: Between The Flower Fairy and An Academy Which Prefers To Remain Anonymous.
(Violet)

SISTER NÉNUPHAR
(Water Lily)

CAMELLIA'S REGRETS

DAISY
MARGUERTINE The Oracle of the Meadows

CANZONE - The Flower of Forgetfulness

Flowers of the Ball-room

THE MYRTLE and THE LAUREL

PIANTO
The Everlasting Flower

Plates:
Differences in Plates

The Flowers

Differences in Bindings

 

 

 

THE FLOWER FAIRY.

           Learned antiquaries have ascertained and plainly described the spot where the earthly paradise was situated. We know with what trees those celestial grounds were planted, and what countries adjoined them on the north, the south, the east, and the west. Thanks to these researches, the topography of Eden would appear to advantage in the charts of the Land Registry, or among the files of the Recorder of Deeds.

           No philosopher has busied himself in determining exactly the geographical site of the palace occupied by the Flower Fairy. We are left, in this respect, to mere conjecture. Some place it in the kingdom of Cashmere; others say it is south-southeast from Delhi. While some think it is  on the table-land of the Himalaya, others suppose it to be situated in the center of the island of Java; in the midst of some vast forest, which, by its labyrinthine and prolific vegetation, protects it from unseasonable visits, and from the research of exploring travelers.

           We alone are acquainted with the route to the Flower Land – but a solemn oath forbids us to reveal it. The newspapers would get there as soon as we could; and God only knows to what condition they would soon bring that happy country, which as yet, has experienced no revolution, but the one which we are about to describe.

           If the reader would accompany us thither, he must suffer his eyes to be bandaged. We must also examine his pockets, lest, like Tom Thumb, he scatter seeds on the way, to identify his path. – Now we have commenced our journey, and the bandage may drop as soon as we arrive.

           Do you not feel around your brows a softer and sweeter air than you ever breathed before? Do you not perceive, in spite of the obscurity that veils your sight, a light more brilliant, and penetrating, and delightful, even than that which shines on your native land? It is because our journey is accomplished. We are now in the domains of the Flower Fairy.

          Here is a garden where the productions of every zone and clime are united, and live together in friendly brotherhood. The brilliant tropical flower is seen by the side of the violet, and the aloes near the periwinkle. Palm-trees spread their fan-like leaves above a grove of acacias, whose white flowers are faintly tinged with red. Jasmines and pomegranates mingle their silver stars and their crimson glow. The rose, the pink, the lily, and a thousand flowers which arrest the eye, but which we need no name, here mingle in harmonious groups, or form beautiful arabesques. All these flowers live, breathe, and converse, as they interchange odors.

           Round the feet of the trees, shrubs, and plants, countless little rills flow, wildly meandering. The water runs over diamonds, whose light flickers and plays, as it comes reflected with tints of gold, of azure, or of opal. Here butterflies of every shape and hue, shun or chase each other in their mingled flight. Now they float – now wheel – now alight – and now rise, with wings of amethyst, of emerald, of onyx, of turquoise, and of sapphire. There is not a bird in the garden, -- yet you seem to be enveloped by the universal harmony, as in one of the concerts which we hear in our dreams – and this is the breeze which sighs, murmurs, plays, and sings some melody to every flower.

          The palace of the fairy is not unworthy of this wondrous place. A genius, who is her friend, has collected those threads of silver and gold, which in the mornings of early spring, float from plant to plant. These he as braided, interwoven, and formed into graceful festoons. The whole palace is composed of this charming filigree. Rose-leaves form the roof, while the blue bindweed fills the interstices of the light trellis which extends like a curtain round the fairy – who, indeed, is seldom at home, occupied, as she is, in visiting her flowers, and watching their happiness.

           Does any one think that a flower can never be unhappy? It would seem to be impossible – and yet nothing is more certain. Our fairy found this by her own experience.

           One fine spring evening, as the Flower Fairy was gently rocking in her hammock of interwoven convolvuli, idly thinking of those other mysterious flowers, which we call stars, suddenly she thought she heard a distant rustling – a confused noise. “It is the sylphs,” thought she, “who come to woo the flowers;” and she relapsed into her revery. But soon the sounds become louder, and the gold sand resounded under steps more and more distinct. The fairy sat erect, and beheld approaching a long procession of flowers. They were of all ages, and of every rank. Full-blown Roses, already on their decline, there walked, surrounded by their young families of buds. All distinctions were overlooked. The aristocratic Tulip gave her arm to the vulgar and plebeian Pink. The Geranium, proud as a financier, walked side by side with the tender Anemone – and the haughty Amaryllis listened without much disdain, to the rather vulgar conversation of the Bladder-nut-tree. As often happens in well arranged societies, at times of great emergency, a forced reconciliation had taken place among the flowers.

           Lilies, with their brows encircled by fireflies and the Bellflowers, with glow-worms shining, like living lanterns, among their petals lighted the procession, which was brought up, in a somewhat disorderly manner, by a careless troop of Daisies.

           The procession drew up in good order before the palace of the astonished fairy, and an eloquent Hellebore, stepping from the ranks, thus addressed her: --

           “Your Majesty:

                    “The flowers here present beg you to accept their homage, and to lend a favorable ear to their humble complaint. For thousands of years we have supplied mankind with their themes of comparison; we alone have given them all their metaphors; indeed, without us poetry could not exist. Men lend to us their virtues and their vices; their good and their bad qualities; -- and it is time that we should have some experience of what these are. We are tired of the flower-life. We wish for permission to assume the human form, and to judge, for ourselves, whether that which they say above, of our character, is agreeable to truth.”

           A murmur of approbation followed this speech.

           The fairy could not believe the testimony of her own eyes and ears.

           “What,” said she, “ do you wish to change your existence, so like to that of the gods, for the miserable life which men lead? What is there wanting to make you happy? Have you not, for your adornment, diamonds of dew? – conversations with the zephyrs for your entertainment? – and the kisses of butterflies, to make you dream of love?”

           “The dews make me take cold,” said , with a yawn, the Belle de Nuit.

           “The songs of the Zephyr tire me to death,” said a Rose. “He has repeated the same thing for these thousand years. The poets of an academy must surely be more amusing.”

           “What care I,” murmured a sentimental Periwinkle, “for the caresses of the Butterfly, since he never participates in the enjoyment? The Butterfly is the very symbol of selfishness. He would not know his own mother, -- and his children, in the turn, would not recognize him. How can he have learned any thing of love? He has neither a past, nor a future; he remembers nothing, and is himself forgotten. Men alone know how to love.”

           The fairy turned upon the Periwinkle a mournful look, which seemed to say, -- “And thou, too!” She felt that her efforts to put down the rebellion would be unavailing, -- still she resolved to make one more attempt.

           “Once upon the earth,” said she to her revolted subjects, “how do you intend to live?”

           “I shall be an author,” replied the Wild-rose.

           “And I a shepherdess,” added the Corn-poppy.

           “I shall come out as marriage-maker, -- I as a schoolmaster, -- I as a teacher of the piano, -- I as a trinket-vender, -- and I as a fortune-teller” – exclaimed all together, the Orange-flower, the Thistle, the Hortensia, the Iris, and the Daisy.

           The Larkspur talked of his debut at the opera, and the Rose vowed that when she should have become a duchess, she would have the satisfaction of crowning rosièeres* without number.

*Young maidens who have won the prize of goodness.

           Many flowers were there which had already lived, and which declared that life among men was very comfortable and agreeable. Narcissus and Adonis had been the secret instigators of this revolt, -- especially Narcissus, who longed to know how a beautiful youth would look in a Venetian mirror.

           The Flower Fairy remained for a while plunged in thought. She then addressed the rebels in a sad but decided voice: --

           “Go, deluded flowers; -- let it be as you propose. Ascend upon the earth, and try human life. Ere long you will come back to me.”

           The history of these flowers, which were changed to women, you will read in this volume. We have collected these adventures wherever we could find them, -- traversing all lands, and questioning all classes of people, -- but keeping no record of dates or epochs. The flowers have lived, to a certain extent, everywhere. You may have been acquainted with some of them, and not suspected it. It is very unfortunate that they have not thought fit to make more disclosures, or to write their own memoirs. This would have relieved us from much trouble – would have saved us many steps, and more than all, many mistakes.

 In concluding the introduction, we must inform you that the fairy did not grant the desired permission, without silently resolving that she would be revenged. The next morning her garden was a desert. One flower alone remained – the solitary Heath-plant, which blooms perpetually.

           Symbol of undying love ! she well knew that for her there was no place on earth.