"Not useless are ye flowers; though made for pleasure, Blooming o'er fields, and wave by day and night From every source your sanction bids me treasure Harmless delight." - Horace Smith.
Flowers are the expression of God's love to man. One of the highest uses, therefore, which can be made in contemplating these beautiful creations, in all their variety and splendor, is, that our thoughts and affections may be drawn upwards to Him who has so bountifully spread over the face of the whole earth, such a vast profusion of these beautiful objects, as tokens of his love to us. The more we examine flowers, especially when the eye is assisted by the microscope, the more we must adore the matchless skill of the Great Supreme. We must be ungrateful indeed, not to acknowledge his unspeakable goodness in thus providing so liberally for the happiness and pleasure of His children here below.
The Saviour of men, while on earth, often retired to the gardens about Jerusalem to spend a quiet hour with His disciples, or alone, and no doubt took pleasure in contemplating flowers. We all know how He spake of the lily: "Behold the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed lite one of these. How surely would Solomon himself have agreed with this beautiful speech! that his wise heart loved the flowers, the lily especially, is evident from the numerous passages in his song. The object of his love in claiming a supreme dignity of beauty, exclaims: "I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valley."
The Emperor Dioclesian preferred his garden to a throne:
"Methinks I see great Dioclesian walk In the Salonian garden's noble shade Which by his own imperial hands was made; I see him smile, methinks, as he does talk With the ambassadors, who came in vain T'entice him to a throne again. "If I, my friends,' said he, ' should to you show All the delights which in these gardens grow, "Tis likelier far that you with me should stay, Than 'tis that you should carry me away; And trust me not, my friends, if, every day, I walk not here with more delight, Than ever, after the most happy fight, In, triumph to the capital I rode, To thank the gods, and to be thought myself almost a'god.'"
There is a class of men who whould pare down every thing to the mere grade of utility who think it the height of wisdom to ask, when one manifests an enthusaism in the culture of flowers, "of what use are they? "With such we have no sympathy. We will not say with the late Henry Colman, in case such an interrogatory being put to us that "our first impulse is to look under his hat, and see the length of his ears," but we are always inclined in such cases to thank God that our tastes do not correspond with their's. "Better," (say these ultra utilitarians,) "devote our time to the culture of things useful and needed to sustain life, than to employ it on things, which, like flowers, are intended only to look at and please the eye." 'But why,' would we ask, 'why should not the eye be pleased?' What pleasures more pure, more warming to the heart, more improving to the mind, more chastening to the. affections, than those which come through the eye! Where are more luminously displayed the perfections of the Creator, than in the star spangled heavens above, and the flower spangled earth beneath?
"Your voiceless lips, oh flowers, are living preachers, Each cup a pulpit, and each leaf a book, Supplying to my fancy numerous teachers From the loneliest nook," - Horace Smith.
Nonsense, - sheer nonsense to tell us it is useless to-cultivate flowers. They add to the charms of our homes, rendering them more attractive and beautiful, and they multiply and strengthen the domestic ties which bind us to them. We would not advocate the cultivation of flowers to the neglect of more necessary objects. Attending to the one, does not involve neglect of the other. Every man engaged in the culture of the earth, can find time to embellish his premises who has the will to do it, and we pity the family of the man who has not. "Rob the earth of its flowers, the wondrous mechanism of the Almighty, and we should lose the choicest mementos left us that it was once a paradise."
"Ye bright Mosaics! that with storied beauty The floor of nature's temple tesselate, What numerous emblems of instructive duty Your forms create. - Horace Smith.
"We have no sympathy with those, who would desecrate and pare down the loveliness of earth to the grade of mere utility - who can discover no beauty in the opening bud and blushing flower and whose exertions are limited on all occasions by a parsimonious idolatry and worse than idiotic privation of sensibility to the maddening love of Gold." The love of flowers is a sentiment common alike, to the great and little; to the old and young; to the learned and the ignorant; to the illustrious and the obscure, while the simplest child may take delight in them. They may also prove a recreation to the most profound philosopher. Lord Bacon himself did not disdain to bend his mighty intellect to the subject of their culture.
The great men of our own age as well as those of the past, have given in their verdict in favor of the great utility of the practice of horticulture in refining and elevating the mind. I cannot refrain from alluding to some of the remarks made by Daniel Webster, Caleb Cushing, and other distinguished guests at the remarkable and interesting festival, held by the Massachusetts Horticultural So-ciety at Fanueil Hall, in September 1845. At this grand, festival six hundred ladies and gentlemen sat down to a sumptuous feast. The tables, fourteen in number, were arranged lengthway of the hall, while at the end was a raised platform, where were seated the president of the society, Marshall P. Wilber, with the numerous invited illustrious guests. The tables were loaded with every delicacy; but their crowning glory was, the great profusion of delicious fruits and a magnificent display of gorgeous flowers, and the absence of all intoxicating liquors. The scene was exciting and brilliant, enlivened by a band of music, interspersed by appropriate songs, while the eloquent remarks from the distinguished guests, with the numerous sentiments in praise of horticulture, produced a scene never be forgotten.