The Romance of Nature; or, The Flower-Seasons Illustrated
ROMANCE OF NATURE.
ROMANCE OF NATURE;
The Flower-Seasons Illustrated.
LOUISA ANNE TWAMLEY.
THE PLATES ENGRAVED AFTER ORIGINAL DRAWINGS FROM NATURE
BY THE AUTHOR.
I sing of brooks, of blossomes, birds and bowers,
Of April, May, of June and July flowers,
I sing of youth, of love too, and I write
How roses first came red, and lilies white;
I write of groves and twilight, and I sing
The court of Mab, and of the Fairie King.—Herrick.
There's wit in every flower, if you can gather it.—Shirley.
CHARLES TILT, FLEET STREET.
CLARKE, PRINTERS, SILVER STREET, FALCON SQUARE, LONDON.
THE POET WORDSWORTH,
THESE ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE FLOWER-SEASONS
ARE, BY HIS KIND PERMISSION,
INSCRIBED BY LOUISA ANNE TWAMLEY.
My own love for Flowers, and the intense pleasure they afford me, are my best as well as my true reasons for writing and publishing this volume; for I believed (and surely the feeling was pardonable, even if somewhat self-laudatory) that a record of the thoughts, fancies, and associations which combine to render Flowers and Flower Seasons so precious to me, might, if communicated, enhance the pleasure which others derive from the same sweet sources.
I aim not at conveying scientific information; firstly, because the design of my work is purely poetical; and secondly, because my own knowledge of botany is too limited to allow of my offering any instruction to others.
I love Flowers as forming one of the sweetest lines in the God-written Poetry of Nature: as one of the universal blessings accessible to all nations, climes, and classes; blessings in their own loveliness alone, and in the pleasure ever derivable from the contemplation of loveliness; but trebly blessing us in the familiar and beautiful power they possess of awakening in our hearts feelings of wonder, admiration, gratitude, and devotion; teaching us to look from Earth to Him who called it into existence, and to feel how worthy of our unceasing thankful adoration must be that Being, the meanest of whose creations is so wonderfully, so beautifully adapted to its appointed position in the vast whole. Flowers seem to form the easiest and pleasantest pathway to further love and knowledge of Nature’s glories. They are indigenous to every soil, and familiar to every eye; a universal language of love, beauty, poetry, and wisdom, if we read them aright.
But, in thus prefacing my present volume, I am, perhaps, wrong, as in the following pages I have sought only to express the beauty, poetry, and Romance of Nature which appear in the forms and characters of Flowers. I have called in the aid of fiction to vary the strain for the ears of those unaccustomed to songs of simple truth; and I have, in one or two instances, ventured a half-fable, the better to illustrate my meaning.
Need I say that the Wild Flowers of mine own fair Land are dearer to me than any others? If it be requisite to tell this to my readers at the commencement of these sketches, they will certainly need no repetion of the intelligence; for, on glancing over my illustrative drawings, I find portraits of thirty natives among the comparatively few subjects which a work like the present could include. Many far more magnificent might have been selected; but it is the poetry of our own meadows, and lanes, and dingles, and "little running brooks," that I wished to point out to my readers. Had I only made acquaintance with Flowers in the costly conservatory, or the trimly laid-out garden (though I dearly love a garden), I should not feel their beauty and blessings half so deeply as I now do. Wild Flowers seem the true philanthropists of their race. Their generous and cheerful faces ever give a kindly greeting to the troops of merry village children who revel in their blossomy wealth; and right welcome are they, gladdening the eyes of the poor town mechanic, when he breathes the pure, fresh country air on Sunday, and gathers a handful of Cowslips, or Daffodils, or prouder Foxgloves, to carry home and set in the dim window of his pent-up dwelling. So dear and beautiful are Wild Flowers, that one would think every body must love them; to many persons, however, much of the delight they bring to me would seem out of place, extravagant—unintelligible; but I hope to conciliate even these dissenters from my creed, by the extracts I have introduced from our great old Poets. And it may be well here to mention, that my first intention was to admit passages from our ancient Bards alone; but, as I went on, familiar lines from a favourite author of later date recurred to my memory, which were so beautiful and appropriate, that I found myself almost compelled to make an exception in favour of Shelley. Some few of my extract gleanings are necessarily familiar ones; but I believe a far greater number are not generally known.
Among my own metrical illustrations are one or two short poems from a volume published by Mr. Tilt a few months ago. I trust to be forgiven for their insertion here, they having been originally written for the present work, which I have had in contemplation several years. My first drawings and selections of poetry were made for it some time before the appearance of any of the now numerous publications on like subjects; though I have no doubt that some recent works will be supposed to have suggested the plan of this volume. I can, however, honestly say, that such an opinion, if formed, will be altogether erroneous, as my immediate friends and other persons are well aware; moreover, the entire design and arrangement of the present publication are essentially different from that of any contemporary work on Flowers.
Of the Plates (on which authors usually compliment the artists) I can say nothing, but that they have been carefully engraved after my own drawings, which drawings were invariably made from Nature. I have never been guilty of curving a stem on my paper, which I found growing straight in the field, or of magnifying a flower for the sake of gay effect. My models always appear to me too perfect in their beauty for me to dream of doing aught but attempt to copy, faithfully as I can, their various forms and colours: invention here must be positive error, and I anxiously strive to avoid that fault, however I may sin against the laws of picturesque effect or elegant arrangement.That much more might be said on a subject so fertile as that implied in the title of my work, I am well aware; that many would have performed my assumed task far better than I have done, is also most true:—still, I trust to the good feeling of my readers to appreciate my desire to amuse, and, if possible, to benefit them: the evidence of my failure or success remains to be given.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE SECOND EDITION.
They tell me, gentle Reader, that I must either write a new Preface, or add to the present one, on this pleasant occasion of “The Flower-Seasons ” reaching a second edition. Ill would it a favoured writer to be uncourteous to her generous patrons, and I therefore gladly accede to the demand. But the feelings expressed in my former prefatory remarks would inevitably be repeated in a second essay, and they shall therefore remain as before:—then what have I to say?—nothing, save the presentation of my own poor thanks for the unmixed kindness with which my volume has been received. To render it in some measure more worthy, I have carefully corrected some typographical and other errors, and in a few places added to the matter.
I will here remark, in answer to several enquiries on the subject, that the metrical passages interwoven with the prose, are, when not marked otherwise, original.
I said I had nothing but thanks to offer,—I was wrong:—paradoxical as the term may appear, I have to congratulate my readers on the more than anticipated success of my work. I do heartily congratulate them on the proof they have given, by their approbation of these simple pages, that love of the great Book of Nature dwells in their hearts, and leads them to regard with gratification even the efforts of so humble a votress as myself, in advancing, however feebly, the great and elevating feelings which its rightly-directed study cannot but create.Birmingham, Nov. 20th, 1836.
LIST OF PLATES.
ORNAMENTAL TITLE PAGE.
|COMMON NAME.||BOTANICAL NAME.|
|Japan Pear||Pyrus Japonica.|
|Gorse, Furze, or Whin||Eulex Europæus.|
|Lily of the Valley||Convallaria majalis.|
|White Jasmine||Jasminum officinale.|
|Large Yellow Jasmine||Jasminum revolutum.|
|Scarlet Pimpernel||Anagallis arvensis.|
|Blue Pimpernel||Anagallis cærùlea.|
|Wild Wallflower||Cheiranthus cheiri.|
|White Water Lily||Nymphæa alba.|
|Water Scorpion Grass, or Forget-me-not||Myosotis painstris.|
|Common Purple Heather||Erica cinerea.|
|Cornish Heath||Erica vagans.|
|Little Bindweed||Convolvulus arvensis.|
|Passiflora cœrùlea racemosa.|
|Ivy-leaved Blue Bell||Campanula hederacea.|
|Carnation and Clove Pink||Dianthus caryophillus.|
|Chinese Pink||Dianthus Chinensis.|
|Blue Harebell||Campanula rotundifolia.|
|Fern||Polypodium Filix mas.|
|Major Convolvulus||Convolvulus major.|
|White Bind Weed||Convolvulus arvensis.|
|Holy Thistle||Carduus benedictus.|
|Creeping Cinque Foil||Potentilla reptans.|
|Cardinal Flower, or Lobelia||Lobelia fulgens.|
|Blue Lobelia||Lobelia erinoides.|
|Autumn or Saffron Crocus||Colchicum Autumnale.|
|Tiger Lily||Lilium Tigrinum.|
|Strawberry Tree||Arbutus unedo.|
|Berries of the Woody Nightshade||Solanum dulcamara.|
INDEX TO ORIGINAL POEMS.
Song of the Flowers
Spring and Spring Flowers
Friends in Winter
To a Narcissus, in January
The Christmas Violet
The May-Morn Bouquet
Lovers and Lilies
Spring Memories and Musings
A Summer Evening
The Ladye's Chaplet
The Jasmine Tree
Country Maid and Pimpernel-flower
White Water Lily, the Queen of Flowers
The Complaint of the Forget-me-not
On a Friend's Birth-day
Feuds among the Heather
The Flower and the Fairy
The Flower of the Fountain
Summer and Summer Flowers
The Three Sweet Seasons—a dirge for the departed ones, and a merry greeting to Autumn
Cavaliers and Carnations
The Chime of the Harebells
Fox-gloves and Fern
Convolvuli and Mignionette
Love and the Thistle
The Ladye, the Lover, and the Crocus
A November Stroll
Autumn Scenes and Flowers
- Poems, by Louisa Anne Twamley, with Illustrations drawn and etched by the Author.—London, Charles Tilt, 1835.