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Which is the Poet's Flower?



Welcome to my page of quotations about the most raging debate in all the land — which flower is the poet's flower?  —ღ Terri


Next to the rose, whose divine right to monarchy cannot be questioned, the violet is the poet's flower. ~Willis Boyd Allen, "The Violet Book," 1909


To the daisy — the poet's darling. ~William Wordsworth, 1802


The peony being rich in its colors and its petals, is rather regarded as the symbol of the rich and happy man, whereas the plum flower is the poet's flower, and symbol of the quiet, poor scholar, and therefore the latter is spiritual as the former is materialistic. ~Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living, 1937


The beautiful narcissus, or daffodil, that comes before the swallow, and in all its beauty takes the winds of March, is the poet's flower, and is loved by gods and man. ~E. M. Barrett, "Flower Myths and Stories," in Home and Flowers, 1901


There’s a flower that shall be mine,
’Tis the little Celandine.
~William Wordsworth, "To the Small Celandine," 1803  [a.k.a. common pilewort, in the family of buttercups —tg]


The true pansy... How eagerly we pluck its blossoms, laden with the welcome perfume of promised vernal treasures! It is also the poet's flower. ~John Lewis Russell, address delivered at the first annual meeting of the Middlesex Horticultural Society, 1840


See, now we have come to the blue-bells, or hare-bells, Hyacinthus non scriptus, blue as the sky itself, they stretch away, far as the eye can see, among the trees and underwood; — some meekly drooping on their stems, some erect; let us search carefully among them, and most likely we shall discover a few pink spikes, or perhaps pure white. There is not a flower in all the British Flora more beloved than this; it is the poet's flower, chanted in many a pleasant lay. ~Mary Howitt, "A Country Ramble in May," Midsummer Flowers, 1854


      But as for the particular William in deference to whom a rosy summer flower is called "sweet," I am inclined to regard him as a somewhat lackadaisical fellow. By a coincidence the flower, which is not remarkably elegant or graceful — on the contrary, it is an erect, sturdy, bunch plant, with the blossom for the most part of a bright pronounced crimson, when it is not pied or entirely white, and quite without scent — it is known in France as "the Poet's Pink." Sweet William considered poetic by our fastidious French neighbours! I should as soon, pleasant flower as it is, look for poetry in a cabbage.
      Our English poets had more reason when they loved and proclaimed their love for the yellow daffodil, the old "daffondowndillly," breaking into different shades of yellow, from rich amber to palest maize, with its tall stalks, nodding heads, and long lance-shaped leaves, the tint of green oats, which form an exquisite setting and foil, in point of colour, to the flower. ~Sarah Tytler, Footprints: Nature Seen on its Human Side, 1881  [Œillet de poète, in the French —tg]


The Eglantine Rose... has always been considered as the poet's flower. ~George William Francis, The Favorites of the Flower Garden, 1844  [a.k.a. sweet-brier, or sweet briar rose —tg]


Ah, Rose! had’st thou but Beauty’s charms
Thou ne’er had been the poet's flower:
Extended on thy thorny arms
Thou had’st not wielded sovereign power...
~James Rigg, "To the Fragrance of the Rose," Wild Flower Lyrics and Other Poems, 1897


The Sweet Violet... truly the poet's flower. ~G. T. F. S. Barlow Speede, The New Indian Gardener, 1848


Poets have immortalised the Pansy. But the Pansy of the poet and the Pansy of the florist differ somewhat. "The Pansy freaked with jet" is the poet's flower. The subject of these notes is of roundest form, its markings distinctly defined, it's "eye" without fault — the Pansy of the florist... To some it is known simply as "heart's-ease." ~R. P. Brotherston, "Notes on the Culture of the Pansy," in The Gardener, 1879


Who that has traveled the fastnesses of Hawaii does not remember the great fronded palms and ferns, the strange clinging vine with its deep red blossoms, the Lehua, covering the tops of trees as with a scarlet mantle. The 'Ohi'a Lehua is the poet's flower, the blossom that is celebrated in song and story: ever since love landed on these islands, and love was the first discoverer, ’way back before the days when the great navigators came from Samoa and settled on these shores. ~Pierre N. Beringer, "A Tourist's Paradise," in Overland Monthly, 1909


Flowers and Poets:
Here 'tween two delights exprest,
In the various tinge is drest...
The beauty creamed in Flowers
Mind's distinct poetic powers—
Poured in both from one completeness
Into various moulds of sweetness...
Where the Inner's like the Outer...
      Geoffrey Chaucer — Wallflower
      Edmund Spenser — Honeysuckle
      William Shakespeare — Roses
      John Milton — Agave Flower
      John Keats — Hyacinth
      Percy Bysshe Shelley — Egyptian Lotus
      Leigh Hunt — Sweetbriar
      Walter Scott — Bluebell of Scotland
      Alfred, Lord Tennyson — Jasmine
      Rudyard Kipling — Tiger-Lily
      Samuel Taylor Coleridge — Passion-Flower
      Thomas Hood — Violet
      Mary Howitt — Primrose
      William Barnes — Apple-Bloom
      Robert Burns — Hawthorn
      Ralph Waldo Emerson — Geranium
      Thomas Carlyle — Cactus Blossom
      Robert Herrick — Meadowsweet
      George Chapman — Marigold
      Christopher Marlowe — Peony
      John Dryden — Rhododendron
      Ben Jonson — Dahlia
      George Herbert — Iris
      Francis Quarles — Lavender
      Andrew Marvell — Sweet-William
      John Fletcher — Convolvulus
      Alexander Pope — Camellia
      Oliver Goldsmith — Mignonette
      Thomas Chatterton — Crocus
      William Blake — Lily
      Ebenezer Elliott — Foxglove
      William Cowper — Cowslip
      Felicia Hemans — Gillyflower
      William Wordsworth — Pansy
      Lord Byron — Sunflower
      Thomas Moore — Sweet-Pea
      Robert Southey — Poppy
      James Hogg — Wild Thyme
      Allan Ramsay — Broom
      Allan Cunningham — Gorse
      John Clare — Buttercup
      Robert Bloomfield — Daisy
      Walter Savage Landor — Asphodel
      Edgar Allan Poe — Belladonna
      Samuel Ferguson — Heather
      Thomas Campbell — Auricula
      Thomas Babington Macaulay — Hollyhock
      Arthur Hugh Clough — Double Dame's-Rocket
~William Allingham, "Flowers and Poets," Flower Pieces and Other Poems, 1888  [deduced, summarized, and a tad modernized —tg]



Page Information:
Original post date 2015 Sep 21
1st major revision 2019 Dec 19
Last saved 2020 Sep 27 Sun 16:22 PDT
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