"The Tulip next appeared, all over gay, But wanton, full of pride, and full of play. The world can't show a dye but here has place - Kay, by new mixtures she can change her face. Purple and gold are both beneath her care, The richest needlework she loves to wear; Her only study is to please the eye, And to outshine the rest in finery".

So sang the poet Cowley; and though not very poetical, he is nevertheless very truthful and correct in his description of this beautiful flower. A bed of Tulips, in their full beauty in the month of May, bears out in an eminent degree the impression of the poet's song, and leaves lasting recollections of splendour and gracefulness on the mind of their devoted and fortunate possessor. With a very different eye to the poet does the careful and attentive grower look upon his pets. He repudiates the idea of gaudiness and finery altogether, insinuated by the poet's description of his choicest treasures. Gay they certainly may be, and though scentless, unlike the Rose and the Violet, yet the beautiful touches and stripes he beholds in his feathers and flames sufficiently compensate, in his estimation, for this lacking virtue. In his humble opinion, it is "a thing of beauty, and a joy for ever." Though less rare and expensive than they were two hundred years ago, a good bed of Tulips cannot be, in the present day, collected together for a moderate sum, when the finest strains and the newest varieties are expected to be found there.

Still, a ten-pound note, judiciously laid out, will insure a fine display; leaving it to the "old dons," who are bent on winning the silver cup at their next meeting, to spend their five guineas on the latest new one to make sure of success, which even then may not be realised; for too frequently do we see the prize finding its way into the hands of the careful and watchful grower, rather than into those where "money is no object".

To look at the prices asked and given for Tulips within the last thirty years, the five-guinea outlay is, by comparison, a very modest sum. Groom of Walworth catalogued some of his choicest and rarest varieties, within my own recollection, at extraordinary sums. For instance, Victoria Regina, a feathered Bybloemen, figured at 100, Nourri Effendi, a flamed Bizarre, at even a larger sum; and now these scarcely occupy a place on the bed - Nourri Effendi, we believe, proving synonymous with Polyphemus, and Victoria Regina being far too tender and truant even to obtain one fine bloom in a dozen. The finest bloom of this variety we ever had the pleasure of beholding, was in the flamed state in two instances in the same year, side by side, and very grand specimens they both certainly were: I thought myself extremely fortunate in securing one of them; but, alas for the fickleness of the whole tribe! it proved anything but an ornament on my own bed. I could not but grieve to see such a transition from good to bad; but it did not prove my first or last disappointment, neither did it regain its fine qualifications. Polyphemus may be taken as the type of a fine Tulip in its exquisite cup, even which Glenny condemns as being too long.

This fine Bizarre, some sixty years ago, was purchased for the respectable sum of 50; and Mr Clarke of Croydon, the celebrated grower, grew a variety called "Fanny Kemble," a flamed Bybloemen, which, at his death, was sold for a sum over .70. This variety is rarely seen on a bed, consequently its reputation cannot be of the highest order; and I think I might venture to affirm that Brown's Salvator Rosa would be found more than its equal. A finer marked flower can scarcely be mentioned than the latter, or a more constant variety, when a fine strain has been insured. I may say that my Salvator has cost me twice five guineas, were I to put down all the items I have paid for worthless strains - worthless, indeed, they proved, even when assured I was purchasing the finest strains in the world. However, I have at last secured the right one, as last season fully proved by a most beautiful and unmistakable bloom. Louis the Sixteenth has held considerable pretensions, if its price could command them to a place on the bed of every respectable grower. But I never saw a good bloom of it - being always flamed, and always dirty in consequence. It is now pretty generally discarded, I believe, on account of its discoloured bottom, although at one time it was considered cheap at twenty guineas.

There are growers at present who can boast of possessing a pure strain in the feathered state, and who state it to be the finest feathered Byblcemen in cultivation. It is of Dutch origin, I believe, and may have figured amongst those varieties which are mentioned as having been bought and sold as bargains at quite fabulous prices. I am intending, in a future paper - that is, should the Editor be persuaded to admit this rambling effusion - to advocate the raising of seedlings more generally than at present; but I would not for a moment desire to raise the expectations of those who may be persuaded to make the attempt, that they are likely to obtain such extraordinary sums as the people of Scotland realised for their seedlings during the Tulipomania of 1634. In one instance, a Bizarre named Viceroy was sold for a sum equal to 250; and we find recorded Semper Augustus at more than twice that sum; whilst Admiral Leifken and Admiral Van der Eyck are more modestly valued at 125.

When we read of Sir Thomas Gresham drinking a diamond of great value, dissolved in a glass of wine, to the health of Queen Elizabeth on the occasion of her opening the Royal Exchange, we find him entirely outdone in extravagance by the sailor who munched up with his breakfast of a herring the root of the celebrated Semper Augustus, valued at the time at three thousand florins, and which no doubt proved more delicious than Sir Thomas's glass of wine.