Page:Poems of Anne Countess of Winchilsea 1903.djvu/130

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

cxxvi INTRODUCTION ���erd down curl from the topmost bough, while the honey- suckle climbs by its dead branches to the thorn-trees above. The oak is used as a symbol for age, but it is not the pathos of man's declining years that stays in the memory; it is rather the pathetic dignity of that " lonely stubborn oak" �whose �distorted trunk Sapless branches bent and shrunk, �show the force of the imperious whirl-winds it has defied. �Lady Winchilsea's poems show a delight in flowers, but �not at all the conventional delight. Her chief pleasure in �flowers arose from their odor. That her olfac- �Flowers �tory sense was especially acute may be inferred from the description of the physical effect of some penetrat- ing odors, as that of the jonquil. She faints beneath the "aromatic pain." And she is as pronounced as Cowper in her protest against the perfume so lavishly used by the beaux and belles of London. But of the gener- ally diffused fragrances wafted from gardens or fields she speaks frequently and with great pleasure. In the descrip- tions of the wilderness at Longleat, the entire stress was put on the ravishing odors from woodbine, jasmine, Hes- perian broom, and the Assyrian rose, which were so cun- ningly arranged that only by detecting their separate odors could one find his way through the maze. She observes, also, that odors are more powerful on hot days, especially "piny" odors, and in the evening. The colors of flowers did not so strongly attract her. Most of her color words have to do with textures and gems. But even in colors she is much richer than most of her contemporaries who describe flowers. One of her most interesting notes is a defense of the common white lily against the opinion of commentators who think "that flower not gay enough" to stand in the famous comparison of Solomon's attire to the lilies. But no ��� �