Gleadall, Eliza Eve / The beauties of flora : with botanic and poetic illustrations, being a selection of flowers drawn from nature arranged emblematically : with directions for colouring them
Introduction, pp. [iii]-iv
INTRODUCTION. AT the present period, when the studies of youth are arranged so as to blend information with amusement, when the accomplishments are considered merely as the relaxation of the mind, I have thought this volume on Flowers (which comprehends a botanical account of each specimen, the appropriate emblem, accompanied, with instructions for copying the design) might afford a chaste recreation, and contribute to encourage a taste for Flowers, and for that delightful art which teaches us- " To look through Nature up to Nature's God." For as Henry G. Bell beautifully remarks- -, There is religion in a flower; Its still small voice is as the voice of conscience: 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 bell bends beneath the dew-drop's weight." The language of Flowers dates its existence with the world itself; it is a kind of parable which speaks to the eye, through which medium it is transmitted to the heart. It has aided gratitude, affection, benevolence and piety, by its silent eloquence, in the expression of the finest feelings and sentiments. Affliction has often been soothed by an emblematical communication of sentiment. " Roucher, when imprisoned by the revolutionary tribunal of France, amused himself in the study of Floral language, his daughter being permitted to send flowers to the prison. A few days before he met his fate, he returned to his favourite child two dried lilies to express both the purity of his heart and the fate which awaited him." Klopstock assuaged his grief by planting white lilies on the grave of his beloved Meta. To the Persians, but particularly the Greeks, Flowers appear to have been a kind of poetic language whereby they have expressed an intensity of feeling unutterable in common language. Their grief, their joy, their religion and sports, their gratitude and admiration, have all been expressed by Flowers- ,,_ - that tell What words can never speak so well."
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