Thornton, Robert John (1768?-1837) / Temple of Flora, or, Garden of the botanist, poet, painter, and philosopher.
A Group of Hyacinths.
A GROUP OF HYACINTHS. THIS plant, like most of the others of Spring extraction, in its wild state, bangs down its azure bells, and having a delightful scent, is one of the most agreeable gifts that Providence has bestowed upon mortals. From its plaintive air, arose to the imagination of the poet the fancy of a Youth converted into this flower. I die, I die, young HYACINTHUS said, a Sunk on the earth and droop'd his lovely head. Quick to his aid distress'd APOLLO flew, And round the hero's neck his arms he threw. But whilst he held him to his throbbing breast, And all the anguish of his soul exprest, His polish'd limbs, by strange enchantment's pow'r, Shoot into buds and blossom into flow'r, His auburn locks in verdant foliage flow, And wreaths of azure florets shade his brow. OVID. Although the Hyacinth cannot boast of broad petals, and a variety of stripes, yet is this flower, from its early appearance, and the effect that cultivation produces on it, made one of the most pleasing gifts proceeding from the Deity. Botanists have usually affected to despise double flowers, forgetful that the benevolence of the Almighty is best displayed in such produc- tions, and have branded them by the appellation of Monsters. They are, however, useful, not only as agreeable objects, but scientifically, proving most satisfactorily the doctrine of the sexes of plants; for the Hyacinth in its natural state has six Stamina and one Pistillum, and is pro- ductive; the petals are likewise six; but in a cultivated state the flowers usually cease to be pen- dulous, and the petals are so considerably multiplied, as to constitute the whole of the flower, and there is neither Stamina nor Pistillum, and consequently no propagation by seeds, but merely by offsets from the bulbs-The double White Hyacinth has been denominated LA HEROINE; that which is double and all of a light blue, GLOBE TERRESTRE. The DIANA VAN EPHESON is a double White Hyacinth with small red spots; and VELOUR PURPRE is the dark double Blue Hyacinth with green at the edges of the petals; and the single dark Blue is named DON GRATUIT. Hyacinthus was accidentally struck by a quoit flung by Apollo, and killed on the spot. He was converted into the flower that bears his name, and Apollo's grief was allayed by viewing the beauties of this charming flower. vide Ovid's METAMORPHOSES
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