Welsh, Y Dorfagl, Golwg Christ, Llygaid Christ, Goleiddrem, Gloywlys, Effros. - French, Gremillet, Scorpionne. - Ger-man, Vergiss-mein-nicht. - Danish, Forgjoet-mig-ej. - Dutch, Kruidig-muize-noor. - Italian, Orecchio di topo. - Spanish, Miosota. - Portuguese, Myosota. - Russian, Dukowka.
I AM not aware that this very brightest of our flowers has, in the lesser sense of the word, any actual - shall I say any discovered - use? yet I am confident that the most practical spirit of the nineteenth century will not object to my including it in this volume of useful plants, forming, as it does, so universal an emblem of friendship, from its colour resembling the blue of Heaven, by which constancy is symbolized. We will also make for ourselves another use, which shall be as high and as holy as are those lessons of active and earnest toil which we receive from examining the ceaseless utility of the natural objects which on every side surround us. We will make it a silent reminder that even the sphere of usefulness will not justify us in neglecting, amidst the whirl of active life, to cultivate in calmness and silence, the spiritual graces and gifts be-stowed upon us: nor in neglecting, in our energetic desire for action, those lesser considerations and at-tentions which are absolutely requisite to bind to-gether human society, to ameliorate the else, too galling, friction of unspiritualised life.
We will make it a monitor to test whether in our own cases,
"The world is too much with us, late and soon;" whether "Getting, and spending, we lay waste our powers," so that,
"Little we see in nature that is ours; We have given our hearts away; a sordid boon!"
We will go forth from the world of cares, with its artificial habits; and leave for once the exhilirations and the depressions which attend the actual affairs of daily life; we will leave the prose of toil awhile, and wander with the poets until we can return to it with spirits freshened, and energies renewed by an uninterrupted communion with nature; we will go forth and worship where,
* * "Each floral bough that swingeth.
And tolls its perfume in the passing air, Makes sabbath in the fields, and ever ringeth A call to prayer.
"Not in the domes where crumbling arch and column Attest the feebleness of mortal hand, But to that fane, most catholic and solemn, Which God hath planned."*
* Horace Smith.
* * "By the breath of flowers.
God calleth us from its throngs and cares,
Back to the woods, the birds, the mountain streams,
That sing of Him - back to free childhood's heart,
Fresh with the dews of tenderness;"* and there, instead of acting,
"Like babes that pluck an early bud apart To know the dainty colour of its heart;"† we will learn to amplify our hearts, till - taking in the vastness of our human brotherhood - they rise with trustfully confident humility to the Father of both them and us, and so we will learn that:
"Spite of all this eager strife, The ceaseless play, the genuine life,
That serves the stedfast hours, Is in the grass beneath that grows Unheeded, and the mute repose,
Of sweetly breathing flowers."‡
We will say with pious and quaint old George Herbert -
"These are Thy wonders, Lord of Love!
To make us see we are but flowers that glide, Which when we once can find, or prove, Thou hast a garden for us where to bide, Who would be more, Swelling through store, Forfeit their paradise by their pride; " and we will learn,
* * "To look
With reverent spirit, through Nature's book,
* Mrs. Hemans. † Thomas Hood. ‡ Wordsworth.
By fount, by forest, and by river's line; To read its deep meanings - to see and hear God in earth's garden, and not to fear." *
We will taste, and see,
"What a glory doth this earth put on,
For him that with a fervent heart, goes forth Under the bright and glorious sky, and looks back On duties well performed, and days well spent! For him the wind - aye, and the yellow leaves Shall have a voice, and give him eloquent teachings; He shall so hear the solemn hymn, that Death Has lifted up for all, that he shall go To his long resting place without a tear."†
For we know that,
"God made the flowers to beautify The earth, and cheer man's careful mood, And he is happiest who hath power To gather wisdom from a flower, And wake his heart in every hour,
To pleasant gratitude!"‡
We know that they are given,
* * To whisper hope,
If e'er man's faith grow dim, For who so careth for the flowers, Will much more care for him." §
And so shall we with,
* * "Attentive, and believing faculties,
Go forth abroad, rejoicing in the joy Of beautiful and well-created things; To love the voice of waters, and the sheen Of silver fountains leaping to the sea;
* Mrs. Hemans. † Longfellow. ‡ Wordsworth.
§ Mrs. Howitt.
And thrill with the rich melody of birds,
Living their life of music; and be glad,
In the gay sunshine, reverent in the storm;
And see a beauty in the stirring leaf,
And find calm thoughts beneath the whispering tree,
And see, and hear, and breathe the evidence,
Of God's deep wisdom in the natural world;"* and we shall learn that,
"Mountains, and oceans, planets, suns, and systems, Bear not the impress of Almighty power In characters more legible, than those "Which he hath written on the tiniest flower, Whose light bells bend beneath the dew-drop; " † and shall see that,
"Wondrous truths, and manifold as wondrous, God hath written in the stars above; But not less in the bright flowerets under us Stands the revelation of his love."‡