S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
How the universal heart of man blesses flowers! They are wreathed round the cradle, the marriage-altar, and the tomb. The Persian in the far East delights in their perfume, and writes his love in nosegays; while the Indian child of the far West claps his hands with glee as he gathers the abundant blossoms,the illuminated scriptures of the prairies. The Cupid of the ancient Hindoos tipped his arrows with flowers, and orange-flowers are a bridal crown with us,a nation of yesterday. Flowers garlanded the Grecian altar, and hung in votive wreath before the Christian shrine. All these are appropriate uses. Flowers should deck the brow of the youthful bride, for they are in themselves a lovely type of marriage. They should twine round the tomb, for their perpetually renewed beauty is a symbol of the resurrection. They should festoon the altar, for their fragrance and their beauty ascend in perpetual worship before the Most High.
Whence is this delicate scent in the rose and the violet? It is not from the root,that smells of nothing; not from the stalk,that is as scentless as the root; not from the earth whence it grows, which contributes no more to these flowers than to the grass that grows by them; not from the leaf, not from the bud, before it be disclosed, which yields no more fragrance than the leaf, or stalk, or root; yet here I now find it: neither is there any miraculous way but in an ordinary course of nature, for all violets and roses of this kind yield the same redolence: it cannot be but that it was potentially in that root and stem from which the flowers proceed; and there placed and thence drawn by that Almighty Power which hath given those admirable virtues to several plants, and induces them, in His due season, to those excellent perfections.
The cultivation of flowers is of all the amusements of mankind the one to be selected and approved as the most innocent in itself, and most perfectly devoid of injury or annoyance to others: the employment is not only conducive to health and peace of mind, but probably more good will has arisen, and friendship been founded, by the intercourse and communication connected with this pursuit, than from any other whatsoever. The pleasures, the ecstasies, of the horticulturist are harmless and pure; a streak, a tint, a shade, becomes his triumph, which, though often obtained by chance, are secured alone by morning care, by evening caution, and the vigilance of days; an employ which, in its various grades, excludes neither the opulent nor the indigent, and, teeming with boundless variety, affords an unceasing excitement to emulation, without contention or ill will.