The dusty foliage emerges brilliantly shining and fresh. Every shower seems to bring a new spring, and the world never fails to be surprised at the renovation which succeeds the rain. There seem, indeed, to be new heavens and a new earth. The drooping evergreens lift up their tas-seled heads and take courage; to them it means life and new hope. The vines throw out their tendrils, and the Honeysuckle emits a keener perfume. The white Lilies that come to rejoice us just as the Roses are going, gleam in the twilight, tall and fair. Who falsely says that it is merely a license of the poets to mingle Roses and Lilies, since they do not blossom at the same time? With us the Irises and the white Flower de Luce linger till after the Roses are in bloom, and then, before the queen is wholly out of sight, come these stately princesses, her followers, like train-bearers of high degree, all clad in white and gold, nearest the throne, if not rivals for the highest place of all. Is it the thorns that make the Rose the royal flower, by rendering her difficult of access, and surrounding her with a bodyguard of lances? Who shall say? There are moods in which her sumptuous beauty and heavy fragrance seem less regal than the haughty, willowy grace of her rival flower, and we hesitate to choose.
And not the flowers alone rejoice in the life-giving drops, but the " sweet smale grass," refreshed and strengthened, lifts its green blades like the spear-heads of a rising army. The dusty mantle that has veiled its gentle beauty falls from it, and the wonderful variation of its tints again delights the eye. Those artists who set our teeth on edge with verdigris and arsenic floods, to represent this dearest and homeliest garment of our mother earth, seem to me never to have entered into and possessed its secret, - the secret of myriad shadows, of myriad lights, each catching a reflection from its neighbor blade, the brown earth below, the azure sky above. No greenest green of foliage low ever shocks the most sensitive vision, for Nature, truest of painters, never fails to break her colors with such subtle mixtures, that only the utmost training of eye and hand enables the artist to hint her secret upon canvas; and he who, with a palette of crude pigments of raw primary colors, seeks to render the shifting emerald of spring, the topaz of the new-mown field, or the gold of harvest, is as one who would catch the flash of the diamond, or the burning heart of the ruby, on the brush's point, and think to imprison it forever.
There are some lines of Matthew Arnold that a wet garden always brings to mind, in which the poet has truly caught the spirit of the fragrant scene. None but a frequenter and true lover of gardens could, in a few words, have thus pictured the mingled dismay and hope with which one views his garden-plot after a rain has both distressed and refreshed it: -
So, some tempestuous morn in early June, When the year's primal burst of bloom is o'er,
Before the roses and the longest day -
When garden-walks, and all the grassy floor.
With blossoms, red and white, of fallen May, And Chestnut-flowers are strewn.
So have I heard the cuckoo! parting cry. From the wet field through the vext garden trees,
Come, with the volleying rain and tossing,
The bloom is gone, and with the bloom go I!
Too quick despairer, wherefore wilt thou go? Soon will the high Midsummer pomps come on.
Soon will the musk carnations break and swell, Soon shall we have gold-dusted snapdragon.
Sweet-william with his homely cottage smell. And stocks in fragrant blow; Roses that down the alleys shine afar.
And open, jasmine-nraffled lattices.
And groups under the dreaming garden trees, And the full moon, and the white evening star.