« السابقةمتابعة »
is simply to do whatever I like best. I INTRODUCTION.
therefore recommend to all lovers of flori
culture who are troubled with more ground A large garden is undoubtedly a source than they can manage alone, that they of large enjoyment; but a small garden forthwith enclose a very limited space, has this advantage, that it brings under / with a strict prohibition against intrusive your notice the personal and domestic hoe, rake, or pruning knife. They will concerns of every inmate of its narrow find it a most interesting experiment, if boundaries. In the former case, you must they do really love flowers as flowers deadmit the aid of a gardener, who, what- serve to be loved ; and not like caps and ever predilection he may have for his call- ribbons, merely for the effect of form and ing, will never enter fully into your views colouring, irrespective of any peculiar inand wishes. His professional wisdom will terest in the article itself. clash with your secret partialities : he will Probably this is not so often the case as see a necessity for closely pruning some florists may presume it to be. Few, pershrubs in the wild luxuriance of which you haps, have accustomed themselves to partake especial delight: he will straighten, to ticular trains of thought as they looked on your great discomfiture, shoots that natu- the various individuals which, in their parrally incline to the curving line of grace; terre, represent so many families : fewer and leave indelible traces of art where have traced so close a connection beyou would rather dispense with such ap-tween the flower and its appropriate mepearances. A large garden is at best but ditation as to find in the former a note a very limited monarchy, where all the book of ideas and events which but for power is vested in the administration; such a memorandum would be forgotten, your Premier will indeed allow you to or very slightly retained. This habit may walk round it, and see how he manages be unconsciously acquired while life itself is matiers ; but beyond that, your privileges but a gay garden of sweets, and the seare wofully curtailed.
cret language of inexperienced confidence Now, in my own little territory I am a is, “ I shall see no sorrow :" but it needs perfect autocrat : shrubs may run as somewhat more than a sip of the bitters wild, twigs grow as awry, and flowers mingled for God's children in this mortal spread as unrestrainedly as I please. Not state to excite a relish for the mysterious a leaf can unfold but I take personal cog- sweetness thus reserved to qualify the unnizance of it; not a blossom expands that palatable draught. God has given us I cannot rejoice over as the fruit of my richly all things to enjoy: the worldling special culture. No intermediate link se- may possess, but the Christian alone can parates me from my loving subjects: the enjoy those gifts And as through the royal prerogative of doing no wrong is merely mechanical arrangement of types mine, upon the agreeable principle that, and paper, ink and pasteboard, into certain having nobody else to please or to dissat-forms, a book is produced which shall conisfy by my proceedings, my rule of right|tain a correct transcript of the revealed
word, and become, under divine operation, I things is wholly wanting, and also inevi.
production to the atmosphere around it. Over and over again have I noticed in That such a thing should have been made these pages the strange power of sympa- to spring out of the colourless and scentthy conferred on these lovely preachers; less dust is strange; that it should be and still, as the season of their glowing made but to wither is stranger yet: that abundance returns, I am constrained to the only abiding part, in many of the most acknowledge it anew. It is indeed one of exquisite flowers-the seed-vessel-should those impressions that cannot be swept present an unsightly contrast to the glowaway by the current of time; because ing blossom which ushered it in, and beevery succeding year adds something to come, in general, more displeasing to the the store of recollections, and something sense, in proportion to its increasing value also to the sad experience of this world's -all is a mystery: but, oh! how instrucnothingness—if thai can be called nothing tive that mystery is, when read by the rewhich has so much power to sting. vealing light of God's word! Dear, preMan's corruption disposes him to be fickle, cious little comforters the flowers of the ungrateful, unkind; this inflicts a wound, field and garden are: they first meet me on some hearts, an almost intolerable on my own ground, indulging the selfish wound; and when it comes from a quar- mood, saying, Those of whom we now tell ter where the reverse was confidently ex- you smiled on you to the last of their morpected, a chilling sense of the universal | tal existence, as we shall do: they fell, but depravity seems to cast a blight over the never till they fell were their loving looks whole face of the earth, and, blindly un- averted. This is the language that conscious of our own participation in the soothes a natural feeling, partaking no general spot, we seem to stand alone, cast doubt, and largely, of natural discontent out and disowned by a race with whom and rebellion: but the Lord has altered we hardly care to claim the affinity which, bis beautiful world to suit the altered connevertheless, exists in all its natural force. dition of his sinful creatures ; and the Under such a feeling there are some who flowers that in Eden might have bloomed know what it is to turn a retrospective eye, unchangeably under the easy culture of a and to call up images of the departed, faithful vicegerent, an ever-present type with the fond regretful thought“ They of his own holy, safe, and rejoicing state, loved truly, loved always--they would now wither and die, to bring spiritual comnot have changed with the changeful fort home to the dying rebel. Yes, I world ; or if they were liable so to do, think they die to soothe us: for I could how sweet to know that they were taken not so love, or so intimately connect the away before that hour arrived—that no- memento with what it commemorates, if thing damped their warm affection, or it was itself exenipt from change. It clouded the brightness of their confiding seems fitting that its tints should wax pale, looks with mistrust and displeasure." At and its petals shrink and fall, leaving me such a moment the slightest relic of a de-halt-reconciled to a lot so universal, and parted friend is doubly precious: a line of giving me the promise of again watching his writing, a sketch by his pencil
, a trifle every budding indication of their annual that once was his-all are invaluable: but return. Here it is that the natural feelto me the smiling aspect of a living flower, ings begin to rise into something more connected by one of the links so often in- elevating. I look on the still blooming scribed with the memory of that departed Power, and acknowledging its imaginary friend, comes home to the bosom with language, another shade of regret steals greater power, inasmuch as it both par- over me as I ponder on the shortness of takes of the vitality which in the other its stay to soothe an aching heart. But I
know it will return. Why? Because totally disappeared in the winter: that God has said that while the earth endures, hard season levelled many a stately tree summer and winter, seed-time, and har- and luxuriant shrub, and I dared not to vest, shall not cease. I have the experi- hope that it had spared my poor wild ence of my own life added to the record flower. I guarded the spot, however, from of some thousands of years, that one the spade, and watched with as little of word of his good promise has never yet hope as could possibly be mingled with failed; and I know assuredly that it never such anxious longing. It re-appeared can fail, but must stand fast for ever and and when the long feathery leaves ever, when all seasons, with the earth it stretched out on every side, not rising self, shall have passed away. And then from the ground, but overspreading it, and some one of those rich promises will come the small germ of a future flower was disto my mind, dissipating in its glorious cernible in the centre, I know not for what light every lingering shadow, whether of upon this earth I would have exchanged discontent or of unbelief. Am I afflicted ? it. It bears a little yellow cup, much like It must needs be so, for he has spoken it. a buttercup, though larger, and is as com“In the world ye shall have tribulation.” mon a weed as can be pointed out in the It is no matter whence it springs: an un- meadows of its native isle, near the water's kind word, or injurious suspicion, is as edge: and on such an edge I found it. I heavy a trial to some minds as a very se- stood for the first, and I suppose the last rious calainity is to others: and herein, time, on the margin of the most lovely lake by the way, do good people so grievously that spreads its bright bosom to the sunerr in rebuking another for smarting under beam: several miles in circumference, yet what would be utterly unfelt by them- lying before the eye like a mirror, with its selves. The Lord knows in what particu- boundaries distinctly marked out, and the lar direction the patient requires to be swelling banks so gently diversified, here probed; and it is singularly presumptuous with a plantation, there a meadow of emon the part of an ignorant, blind stander- erald green, and several little islands by, to pronounce that he means nothing speckling the bright surface with their by the operation, just because the crea- beautiful verdure crowned with tufts of ture's wisdom would suggest a different trees- I have it before me now, and shall mode of applying the instrument from that have it before me while I live. which the Creator judges best. There On the spot where I stood, a light and are some who can bear me witness, be-buoyant step had rested, one sunny day in cause they have experienced both, that a June, previous to entering a small boat. bodily affliction of some magnitude is light, Ten minutes afterwards, that spot was is nothing, in comparison with unkindness, pressed again beneath the heavy tread of or even cold indifference, where the heart those who landed a drowned corpse and might naturally turn for the reverse. To bore it away. Years had passed--I visited such, sickness and pain are half welcome the place, and looked around, and amid for the sake of the tender soothings that the bewildered feeling of the moment my they call forth from beloved friends ; while brain seemed to receive an uneffaceable health and prosperity are embittered by transcript of the whole scene, and there it the lack of those sympathies on which the remains. I looked down and beheld this spirit loves to repose itself. God gives or simple wild flower laving its long leaves takes away accordingly. Let him do in the ripple that evermore rolled a refreshwhat seemeth him good.
ing moisture to the root: I scooped it up I have not been able to select a particu- from the bed of transparent pebbles where lar flower for this paper. The burst of it grew, a solitary green thing, with its beauty in my little garden bewilders me; cup of living gold turned sunward. I and having peopled it with mementos al rooted it in native earth, and it grew under ready recorded, I am at a loss to add an- my eye, by day and night ever near me, other to the wreath. One, indeed, there travelling many bundred miles on my is, a stranger altogether, both there and knee, until it reached the selected spot in in the soil of England; but so humble, yet my small garden, where a young hawso dear! It died down to the ground, and thorn waves a faint shadow near it, and
a daily watering supplies the refreshment | mind is well depicted in the aspect of a it was wont to derive from the hundred flower. Perhaps, in the whole range of sweet springs of Lough Ouel.
intellectual suffering, not resulting from I have said it was planted in Irish earth : conscious guilt, there is nothing more trytrue to its character, that handful of soil ing than to know one's-self the object of threw up a little weak seedling shamrock, unjust suspicion: to perceive that what is which, strange to say, never once quailed done in perfect integrity of heart and upnor changed its vivid green during the past rightness of intention, with a single eye to destructive winter. They grow together, some evident duty, or service of love, is and my hand shall never part them: for God viewed through a false, distorted medium: has united the spirits in heaven, and why or misrepresented by the craft of Satan, to should I divorce the poor memorials be- alienate the affections that would otherlow? Their near neighbour is the hearts- wise flow naturally towards an individual ease; and many a sweet recollection, disinterestedly employed in the service of many a sar sweeter hope is clustered in a others. There is a remedy in this case : space too homely to attract the glance of there is an appeal that is never unantaste, and so narrow as to render it a mar-swered in the end. One alone has the vel that such a volume of consolation power of searching the human heart: we should be written there. Yet written it is, cannot try and know our heart, but He and daily read, and frequently resorted to, can and does; and although a fearful for that same mild lesson alluded to in the mass of undetected sin cleaves to all that foregoing pages. The white stone-crop we do, or say, or think, still there is a relafrom Vinegar-Hill fell beneath the frost; tive uprightness of purpose, which may a plant from the walls of Derry died like-challenge a just judgment, as between wise, though both were cherished in a man and man, at the hand of the Omnisheltered room: but the wild weed of scient. It is when vexed by a collision Lough Ouel, and the shamrock of the with the injurious and unkind, who too meadow outlived it in the open air. It is often lead us to complain of being wounded better to receive whatever changes the in the house of our friends, that the dead Lord may appoint, whether atmospheric pass before our mental view with all the or otherwise, in the situation where he has confiding candour which belongs to a originally placed us. How many a con- noble, loving disposition; and we feel the stitution is ruined by over-nursing, I have bereavement in a new, an almost insupoften remarked; how many a mind is un- portable sense of its irreparable character. nerved, and unfitted for the endurance of The sting of a nettle will endear the harminevitable evils, by being too carefully lessness of a violet, though the latter needs guarded from all that might shock its sen no such enhancement. sibilities, I also know too well. An early Oh what a day will that be, when every blighting of luxuriant leaves may preserve noxious thing is uprooted, and cast forth the root for future and vigorous vegeta- from the fair garden of this renovated tion, when the artificial covert of a roof earth! The figure is of constant recurwould retain the evanescent bloom at the rence in scripture. “Instead of the thorn imminent risk of immediate destruction shall come up the fir-tree; and instead of from any accidental admission of external the brier shall come up the myrtle-tree.” air. This is also instructive, as are most “ The wilderness and the solitary place of the peculiarities attending the delightful shall be glad because of them; and the employment of horticulture: and I think desert shall rejoice and blossom as the such teaching finds a readier admission to rose.” Before that day of the church's the mind, when we voluntarily draw it, as triumph and blessedness, I shall be gathe bee does his honey, from the nectary thered among the clods of the valley; and of a sweet flower.
the bright offspring of the soil, which now But still the charm that most endears soothe and cheer my heart, will be blosthe flower is that resemblance to what was soming over my head, and telling forth to kind, and loving, and confiding. Guileless others the same precious truths that they itself, the mind does not suspect others of declare to me. It is not to be supposed sordid or unworthy motives: and such a l that such a book has been spread before
man for six thousand years in characters It is now some years since the associaillegible to those who glanced upon it. tion was formed between the flower and Isaac's meditations in the field at eventide the individual: far more probable it was, may have partaken of the same nature, as in the course of nature, and under existing the gorgeous blossoms of the East un-circumstances, that both should have bent folded their glowing tints around him. over my humble grave, than that the seDavid, from considering the starry heav- cret link which my fancy formed between ens, may have turned his regards to the them should ever be recorded in these flowers of earth, and read their declaration faint outlines of the departed. But thus of the glory of God in terms no less em- the Lord has willed ; and we poor children phatic than the voiceless testimony of the of mortality can only lay our mouths to skies. The skill that hung those elegant kindred dust, and say, "Even so, Father." pendants on their slender stalks, and Flowers often appear to me to have been arranged a drapery of foliage around made for the express purpose of affording them, had a meaning in the act. I will admonition to the fair and blooming: at not reject the comfort nor disregard the least in their wrecked condition. I know instruction that they seem designed to not if the flowers in the garden that Adam yield me. What my gracious Lord and was set to dress and to keep were perishSaviour has invited me to consider, I will able before his act of sin brought death not overlook; what he tells me that Solo- into the world: I only know that now mon in all his glory could not equal, I will " the grass withereth, the flower fadeth ;" not refuse to admire; and what he repre- and in sad unison with them “ the fashion sents as being clothed by the hand of God, of this world passeth away.” And "as as a symbol of his providential care over for man, his days are as grass : as a flower me, I will not fail to recognize as among of the field, so he flourisheth.”
We nathe sweetest tokens of his love. While I turally bear witness to the beauty and aplive, flowers shall multiply in my garden, plicability of the symbol, even before it has and be cherished in my bosom; and when been brought home to our hearts by an I die, if any kind hand will place them unwilling appropriation--before the bright there, flowers shall smile upon my grave. blossom that decked our own bower has
been prostrated at our feet by the rending blast, the devouring worm, or the mysterious process of unexplained decay; but when that has occurred--when the flower
to which the loved one was likened beCHAPTER I.
comes the sad remembrancer of what has left our sight for ever, how thrilling is the
appeal contained in those numerous pasSPRING is yet young; and the severity sages of holy writ that afford us a higher of a biting winter has retarded the appear- than human authority for the symbol ance of much that would, in milder sea- that naturally commends itself to the sons, have shown itself. It was unreason- mind! able to stroll with inquiring looks into the When I first beheld Zelia, she was as shady corner of my little garden allotted yet a bride; and certainly the loveliness to that lovely summer flower, the Lily of of her aspect could not be surpassed. I the Valley, and examine the unstirred had heard of her as being singularly earth for tokens of what I had as yet no handsome; but the portraiture my fancy right to expect. The flower was before drew came far short of the original. Her my mental eye, in all the delicate grace for tall, elegant form, the exquisite symmetry which it is so conspicuous ; and the train of her features, and that delicate transof thought whence originated my prema- parency of complexion that distinguishes ture search will not allow itself to be the maidens of her native country--the banished. I must, then, forestal the Lily, land of soft zephyrs and gentle dews--and permit imagination to furnish the type struck me at once as entitling her to a while in sorrowful reality the antitype en- place among the fairest flowers of the gargrosses my feelings.
den; and a subsequent acquaintance
THE LILY OF THE VALLEY.