Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. J. A. Harrison), “Review of Flora and Thalia,” The Complete Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. IX: Literary Criticism - part 02 (1902), pp. 43-45


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[page 43, continued:]

FLORA AND THALIA; OR GEMS OF FLOWERS AND POETRY: BEING AN ALPHABETICAL ARRANGEMENT OF FLOWERS, WITH APPROPRIATE POETICAL ILLUSTRATIONS, EMBELLISHED WITH COLORED PLATES. BY A LADY. TO WHICH IS ADDED A BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION OF THE VARIOUS PARTS OF A FLOWER, AND THE DIAL OF FLOWERS. PHILADELPHIA: CAREY, LEA, AND BLANCHARD.

[Southern Literary Messenger, June, 1836.]

THIS is a very pretty and very convenient volume, on a subject which, since the world began, has never failed to excite curiosity and sympathy in all who have a proper sense of the beautiful. It contains 240 pages, and 24 finely colored engravings, which give a vivid idea of the original plants. These engravings are the Meadow Anemone — the Harebell — the Christmas Rose — the Dahlia — the Evening Primrose — the Fox-Glove — the Heliotrope — the Purple Iris — the Jasmine — the King- Cup — the Lavender — the Mezereon — the Narcissus — the Orchis — the Clove Pink — the Quince — the Provence Rose — the Solomon’s Seal — the Tobacco — the Bear Berry — the Violet Pansy — the Wall-Flower — the Yellow Water-Flag, and the Zedoary. The bulk of the volume is occupied with poetical illustrations exceedingly well selected. We do not believe there is a single poem in the book which may not be considered above mediocrity — many are exquisite. The Botanical description of the variety parts of a Flower, is well conceived — brief, properly arranged, and sufficiently comprehensive. The Dial of Flowers, will be especially admired by all our fair readers. The following extract from page 227, will given an idea of the nature of this Dial — the manner of composing which, is embraced entire, in the form of a Table, on page 229.

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These properties of flowers, and the opening and shutting of many at particular times of day, led to the idea of planting them in such a manner as to indicate the succession of the hours, and to make them supply the place of a watch or clock. Those who art disposed to try the experiment, may easily compose such a dial by consulting the following Table, comprehending the hours between three in the morning and eight in the evening. It is, of course, impossible to insure the accurate going of such a dial, because the temperature, the dryness, and the dampness of the air have a considerable influence on the opening and shutting of flowers.

We copy from the Floria and Thalia the following anonymous lines.

Alas! on thy forsaken stem

My heart shall long recline,

And mourn the transitory gem,

And make the story mine!

So on my joyless winter hour

Has oped some fair and fragrant flower,

With smile as soft as thine.

 

Like thee the vision came and went,

Like thee it bloomed and fell;

In momentary pity sent, [page 44:]

Of fairy climes to tell:

So frail its form, so short its stay,

That nought the lingering heart could say,

But hail, and fare thee well!

 


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Notes:

None.


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[S:0 - JAHCW, 1902] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe (J. A. Harrison) (Review of Flora and Thalia)