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and get once more into the broadlands and the field paths. The moment we leave the skirts of the wood, we encounter a picture of surpassing loveliness; there is a broad footpath leading over a wide common, and a sweet little river wends its way silently along under the shadows of stately trees, circling like a silver line around the foot of the furze-covered hill, till it vanishes like an evening cloud in the distance. There are lambs and sheep scattered among the bushes, and the musical jingling of their bells comes floating on the soft air like the music of a dream. There are glorious hillocks of purple heather and wild thyme, haunted all day long by humming bees; and down in yonder green valley lie the cattle chewing the cud, and almost buried among the grass and flowers; while out afar lies the little village, with its cracked and tattered windmill, and its white cottages and clumps of tall trees, looming upon the blue horizon like an island floating in the sky.
Who would not leave the crowded city, with its eternal dust and din, and black walls and sooty atmosphere, for such lovely scenes as these? Who would not leave the stiff forests of chimney-pots for the green waving forests of beech and oak, and to lie idly by the banks of singing streams?-to see the hawk poised motionless in the air, the timid hare bound through the green fern, and to hear the ring-dove cooing? A walled city is a prison for the human heart; and to shut ourselves up from beholding the beauty with which the hand of God has clothed the earth, is like choosing the apples of Sodom, while luscious fruits hang tempting on the bough.
THE LOVE OF FLOWERS.
"Our human souls
Cling to the grass and water brooks."
THE sentiments of the human heart are instinctive; they are born with us, and in saddest moments shed a light about us like spring sunshine, when clouds begin to break. Our best sympathies are unteachable, not to be imparted. They lie slumbering within us till awakened by kindred sympathies, and then we know their worth. Some of our sympathies are special, and some we share in common with all the world. The love of flowers is one of the universal sentiments. In childhood, we roam through lanes and fields, and amid the leafy garniture of woods, to hold communion with them, fancying we hear them talk, till our eyes fill with strange tears of pleasantness. As we grow into manhood, and mingle in the busy world, the heart still cherishes its love for flowers; and when the spring sunshine falls upon our path, sweet memories come over the spirit, and the heart seems to gush with flowery voices of its own. Even in age, when time has ploughed deep furrows in our brow,
and the snows of
life's winter lie upon our heads, this passion dies not. The eye, which was dim and lustreless, kindles with new light; and the step, which was feeble and tottering, becomes firm and steadfast, when nature sheds her sweet influences around us; and of those influences, how many are mixed up with flowers!
Flowers are friends that change not. In youth, they greet us with their sunny smiles; in age they speak to us of boyhood, and lead us back to the scenes made dear by recollections of home; year after year, as we hasten onward to complete the cycle of our being, they still abide with us, and offer solace. And when sickness and sorrow have broken down the spirit, and we lie down to rest, with the red earth for a pillow, the flowers come in joyful troops to guard our resting-place from rash footsteps and unhallowed intrusions. And then the "green grass, and clover, and sweet herbs”—made fragrant by the soft dews and early glances of the sun-sanctify the air which sweeps above our graves; and all day long the grasses wave in the wind, and the flowers sing sweet dirges over the green mounds which mark our restingplace; and at night, the sentinel stars come forth to keep watch over us, and the flowers become sorrowful in the still silence, for, as the poets say, they are stars too, though set in a firmament of greenness.
Come with me, thou toiler in the dusty enty; shake off the cloud from thy brow; forget for awhile the pence and shillings for which thou hast sold thy soul; and I will lead thee under green forest trees, over soft mossy hillocks, and beside cool running brooks, where the water-flags play with each other, and look at their own
merry faces in the glassy stream. Come to the thick brake, and lie down upon the grass till thou hast forgotten all the cares of life. Doth not thy heart now throb with emotions of thankfulness to God, for making the earth so fair, so redolent of beauty, in its garniture of flowers? and for having scattered these silent teachers up and down the world-things of beauty and joys for ever? The soul must be fed; we must have inspiration from stars, and sunbeams, and flowers,-and not be always chewing corn. We must hear the voice of God in the elements, in the winds and the waves, the rattling of the thunder, and the howling of the storm. We must see His face in every flower, and feel His breath in the odour of forest leaves and banks of wild thyme. Now, dost thou not long to be a child once more, and to live out thy days in one frenzy of joy? Wouldst thou shrink from cold hearts, and disappointments, and regrets, and live for the love of flowers only ?-to gather round thee glowing visions of floral loveliness; to fill the air with angel shapes and rainbow hues; to breathe an atmosphere of perfume like that which floats over the green pastures of Paradise; to feel the sense overwhelmed with droppings of rich music, as though angel lutes were tuning their anthems to the Omnipotent; and, amid the grand symphonies of nature, to feel the soul hallowed and becalmed, as the sea in summer time, when the winds have gone to sleep upon its bosom ?
Nature is the property of all. Flowers are the ministers of her commonwealth. They bloom for old and young, rich and poor; and, to every true heart, are messengers from heaven! The great duty of flowers is to
teach us to be always children, to be ever fresh, and budding into new beauty; for the poetry of our lives is all that can ennoble us. It is in the morning of existence that
"Hope looks out
Into the dazzling sheen, and fondly talks
Of summer; and Love comes, and all the air
Rings with wild harmonies."
Because time has led us a little further towards the tomb, we need not become so engrossed with sordid pursuits as to shun the world of beauty, the creation of poetry, which exists around us in the semblance of perpetual youth. Oh! "let the blood of the violet trickle in our veins." Let us mingle with the sweet children of the woods, and hold communings with nature in her own peaceful solitudes. We will lie in green meads where daisies grow, and bask us in the sunshine; lie by the streamlet's brim, and plait rushes, and talk to our own images in the reflecting waters; hide in flowery nooks and dingles, and murmur snatches of wild old songs, until we laugh ourselves into a very incarnation of gladness; we'll build our fairy palaces with a geometry of sunbeams, and climb upwards on our dreamy destiny till the universe becomes our temple.
It was the love of flowers which gave to the pages of the old poets that freshness which is the true image of life. The wisdom of Solomon was so much the greater that he loved flowers; and it is the same sentiment which sweetens the pages of Spenser, Chaucer, Clare, Carrington, Gilbert White, and Chatterton, and makes them lustrous, like unclouded sunshine in the month of June. If we had not this love of flowers in our hearts, we