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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 repeti
tion 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
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
And it may be well here to mention, that my first intention was to admit only passages from our ancient Bards; 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.
Poems, by Louisa Anne Twamley, with Illustrations drawn and etched by the Author.---London, Charles Tilt, 1835.
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 remains to be given.