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Whose sundry colours of one kind,
First from one root derived,
My garland so contrived,
A course of cowslips then I'll stick.
And here and there (though sparely) The pleasant primrose down I'll prick,
Like pearls that will show rarely; Then with these marygolds I'll make
My garland somewhat swelling, These honeysuckles then I'll take,
Whose sweets shall help their smelling. The lily and the fleur-de-lis,
For colour much contenting, For that I them do only prize,
They are but poor in scenting.
The daffodil most dainty is,
To match with these in meetness; The columbine compared to this,
All much alike for sweetness.
These in their natures only are
Fit to emboss the border, Therefore, I'll take especial care
To place them in their order:
One by another neatly:
And finished it featly.
The practice of divination by flowers is not altogether unconnected with the floral language which forms the principal subject of this little volume. It is customary in some countries to pluck off the leaves of the marigold or any flower of the aster kind, while certain words are repeated, in order to ascertain the character or inclination of an individual. Göthe has touched upon this superstition in his tragedy of Faust, in which Margaret plucks off the leaves of a flower, at the same time alternately repeating the words: - He loves me." loves me not." On coming to the last leaf she joyfully exclaims—"He loves me!”—and Faust says: "Let this flower pronounce the decree of Heaven!”
This circumstance has been chosen by Retsch for the subject of one of his exquisite sketches for the illustration of Faust, to an engraving of which Miss Landon wrote a little poem entitled “ The Decision of the Flower,” containing these lines :
And, with scarlet poppies around, like a bower,
So may the fall of the morning dew
In some countries the following mode of divination is resorted to. The lover, male or female, who wishes to ascertain the character of the beloved object, chooses or draws by lot one of the following flowers :
13, Spanish Vetch.
The disposition of the individual in question will be found in the subjoined list at the number corresponding with that of the flower, which has either been chosen or allotted by chance.
1. Enterprising. 2. Silly. 3. Base. 4. Loquacious. 5. Lazy. 6. Gentle. 7. Ostentatious. 8. Obstinate. 9. Hasty. 10. Submissive. 11. Arbitrary. 12. Avaricious.
The following pages will explain the emblematic significations which have been attributed to different flowers, plants, shrubs, and trees ; and the various combinations which these meanings may suggest will, it is presumed, furnish a pleasing exercise for the ingenuity of our fair readers.