(I I) Lovers In Your Garden
By GERALD WYNNE RUSHTON
" All the world adores a lover," is an old saying—and truer than most. From the Dawn of Time the sight of lovers has ever set man a-dreaming old and young alike. In the spring—well we all know what happens in the spring; and could any season be more exquisitely appropriate to a lover and his lass. It matters not where it is—the wide mysterious spaces of the Campagna outside the antique walls of Rome — the violet-haunted loveliness of Vienna woods—the intoxicating gaiety of the Bois de Boulogne—or hest of all this England of ours—it is flowers, flowers all the way in "Love's Young Dream."
When Daises pi& and Violets blue And Lady smocks all silver while And Cuckoo buds of yellow hue Do paint the meadows with delight The Cuckoo then on every tree Mocks married men for thus sings he Cuckoo Cuckoo, Cuckoo—oh word of fear Unpleasing to a married var.
With what swift vivid quality Will Shakespeare's lines bring England in the spring time to the mind's eye. And indeed have any flowers more appeal to humanity than those of spring? All the wanton luxury of summer—its rapturous roses, its languous lilies, its flaming peonies, its imperial irises, the whole blazing nobility of the borders cannot quite equal in welcome the shy retiring delicate grace of th firstlings of the homing spring.
Be Irrational Who Aren't I have no doubt that matter-of-fact folks will sententiously explain that our welcome is merely reaction from the dreary winter months.
Well, as far as I am concerned, they can keep their explanations. For they have forgotten; indeed I doubt if they ever knew, that spring being the lovers' especial season, the spring flowers from time immemorial have been dedicated to Iove. Nor is this strange when we remember that these lovely blooms house the spirits of lovers passed from our midst this many a year; who were imprisoned in their forms long long ago when the ancient Gods walked and talked with men here below. The key that unlocks their stories is in the botanical names.
The Daisy—Chaucer's "dear Day's eye" —is, in botany, Bellis Perennis, and the name " Bettis is derived from the Greek
Belides; which was the name of a beautiful Dryad that was trying to escape from the unwelcome attentions of Priapus, the God of Gardens and Orchards. In her
distress she prayed to the Gods for help, and they changed her into this tiny flower.
And indeed there is some exquisitely virginal, about a daisy, that " flowere of flowers" as Chaucer called her, vowing in a poem written to her, to sing her praises " while ever his life lasted."
Herrick's exquisite lines on the primrose sum up all the most nervous lover—and what lover is self-confident? — has ever felt.
Ask one why I send you here This sweet Infanta of the year Ask ore. why I send to you This primrose. thus bepearled with dew?
I will whisper to your ears;—
The sweets of lore ore mixed with tears.
Ask me why this flower dors slew
So yellow green and sickly too? Ask me why the stalk is weak
And bending (yet it doth not break)P I will answer:—These discover What fainting hopes are in a lover.
The association of "pale primroses" with soft sadness of love seems to have
been generally accepted by all poets, Shakespeare speaking of,
Pale primroses that die unmarried Ere they can behold bright Phoebus in his strength.
It goes back, as ever, to the Greeks who had a story of the handsome son of Flora and Priapus whose betrothed died. His grief was so great he died of a broken heart — and the Gods changed his body into a primrose.
1 never see the Crocus but I think of the legend that attaches to the Saffron Crocus — the autumnal cousin of the spring variety. With the Greeks and Romans the marriage bed was strewn with saffron crocuses, and the robes of Hymen, the God of Marriage, were saffron coloured. Ovid tells us that Crocus was a beautiful youth who became desperately enamoured of the nymph Smilax, and was changed into the flower of his name because of his excessive impatience. To me, beautiful as the Saffron Crocus is the purple and orange crocuses of spring are much the more passionate in quality, and more appropriate to the _legend.
When Daffodils begin to peer
With heigh! the doxy over the dale Why ihen l'11211E'8 in the sweet o' the year.
Again the botanical name gives us the story—this time the well-known one of Narcissus. As a love story it is a little self-conscious for so beautiful a flower that is, of itself, so completely Greek in quality; but with our Anglo-Saxon ancestors Daffodil was a rustic maiden
Sweet Daffy-down-dilly that came up to Town
In a white petticoat and a green gown.
and was altogether so simple and charming that everybody fell in love with her but she married a shepherd Iad—an ending that is altogether more to our English taste.
The Anemone or Windflower is no less a swell than Adonis—Venus's own lover who was mortally wounded in the hunt by a boar and to make him immortal she changed him into the lovely blossom of that name. Pliny adds a fantastically charming touch to the story by telling us that the Anemone only blooms when the winds blow.
Yes—there are lovers in your garden beside those who walk its paths. Flowers and lovers are one and the same — for there's nothing half so sweet as Love's Young Dream,