Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Have a Flower in Your Room by T.S. Arthur

Have a Flower in Your Room
T.S. Arthur

How beautiful and yet how cheap are flowers. The "laughing flowers," exclaims the poet! But there is more than gaiety in blooming flowers, though it takes a wise man to see the beauty, the love, and the adaptation, of which they are full.

The heart that does not love flowers, or the voice of a playful child, cannot be genial. It was a beautiful conceit that invented a language of flowers, by which lovers were enabled to express the feelings that they dared not openly speak. But flowers have a voice for all,—old and young, rich and poor. "To me," says Wordsworth,

"The meanest flower that blows can give
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears."

Have a flower in the room, by all means! It will cost only a penny, if your ambition is moderate; and the gratification it gives will be beyond price. If you can have a flower for your window so much the better. What can be more delicious than the sun's light streaming through flowers—through the midst of crimson fuchsias or scarlet geraniums? To look out into the light through flowers—is not that poetry? And to break the force of the sunbeams by the tender resistance of green leaves? If you can train a nasturtium round the window, or some sweet peas, then you will have the most beautiful frame you can invent for the picture without, whether it be the busy crowd, or a distant landscape, or trees with their lights and shades, or the changes of the passing clouds.

Any one may thus look through flowers for the price of an old song. And what pure taste and refinement does it not indicate on the part of the cultivator! A flower in the window sweetens the air, makes the room look graceful, gives the sun's light a new charm, rejoices the eye, and links nature with beauty. The flower is a companion that will never say a cross thing to any one, but will always look beautiful and smiling. Do not despise it because it is cheap, and because everybody may have the luxury as well as yourself. Common things are cheap, but common things are invariably the most valuable. Could we only have fresh air or sunshine by purchase, what luxuries they would be considered; but they are free to all, and we think little of their blessings.

There is, indeed, much in nature that we do not yet half enjoy, because we shut our avenues of sensation and feeling. We are satisfied with the matter of fact, and look not for the spirit of fact, which is above it. If we opened our minds to enjoyment, we might find tranquil pleasures spread about us on every side. We might live with the angels that visit us on every sunbeam, and sit with the fairies who wait on every flower. We want more loving knowledge to enable us to enjoy life, and we require to cultivate the art of making the most of the common means and appliances for enjoyment, which lie about us on every side.

A snug and a clean home, no matter how tiny it be, so that it be wholesome; windows into which the sun can shine cheerily; a few good books (and who need be without a few good books in these days of universal cheapness?)—no duns at the door, and the cupboard well supplied, and with a flower in your room! There is none so poor as not to have about him these elements of pleasure.

A FIRE in winter, a flower in summer! If you can have a fine print or picture all the year round, so much the better; you will thus always have a bit of sunshine in your room, whether the sky be clear or not. But, above all, a flower in summer!

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