Primroses and Violets
THE silence of winter still reigns in the woodlands, but Spring will soon throw her green veil over the naked boughs, clear beams of sunlight fall on the branches and • the yellowhammer's joyous notes fill the air. Beneath the hazel bushes the first primroses shine forth in their ethereal loveliness. What is the colour of the primrose ? These radiant stars are pale, yet the woodlands are lit with their beauty. There is an exceed- ing softness and delicacy about the flowers, enhanced by the down of their stalks and the faint green of the under surfaces of their leaves.
About them is the mystery and purity of the far ex- panses of the -gardens of space. In the pure light of their petals they seem to reflect the luminous majesty of the -flowers in the starry meadows of the Pleiades.
How curiously arresting is the pale yet vivid green eye of the primrose with its circle of orange. Violets' eyes are full of dreams, aconites' of demure laughter, wood anemones' of fairy secrets, but in the delicate, sensitive eye of the primiose there is something of almost human appeal. It is sweet and grave and child-like, thoughtful without a trace of sadness. Beyond all this is the elusive other-world expression which always baffles us. We may look at them but their eyes never meet ours. The first ambassadors of spring in the woodlands bring with them a nameless quality from worlds infinitely. remote and beyond our ken. Their secret is held in their faint ethereal perfume, so delicate that one never tires of it, so frzsh that no other scent can be compared to its • unearthly purity. Primroses shine with a sudden gladness lacking in flowers far more brilliant in hue. But their light does not seem to be of this earth, and memories of them haunt us even when the merry bluebells carpet the greenwood.
March violets preserve in their- scent the memory of Orpheus, for, one day, being weary, he sank to sleep oh a mossy bank, and where his enchanted lute fell there blossomed the first violet. The magic music of his lute still haunts the scent of violets. Deep toned melodies from faerie linger itr - -
" the sweet sound That breathes upon a bank of violets Stealing and giving odour."
The violet is regal- in its humility, and what a splendour of purple radiates from the petals of this shy flower. It glows. with the fragrance and warmth of its beauty. " And the more vertuous the flower thereof is the more it bendeth the head thereof downward. The lyttlenesie thereof in substance is nobly rewarded in greatnesse of savour and vertue."
And to violets the old herbalists ascribed the gift of deep. "For them that may not sleep for sicknesS, seethe the violets in water and at even let him soke well hys feete in the water to the alleles ; when he goeth to bed bind of this herbe to his temples and he shall slepe well by the grace of God." _ - • The violet is the symbol of humility. Over thirteen centuries ago the bishop-poet Fortunatus sent to Queen Radegonde of saintly fame violets and other- scented .flowers, and With his gift he wrote "He who offers violets must in love be held to offer roses. Of all the fragrant herbs I send none can compare in nobleness with the purple *Wet. They shine in reyal purple : perfume nnd beauty unite in their petals: May you show-forth-in your life what they represent." .
In mediaeval paradises the redeemed wander in meadows blossoming with the violets of humility and the lilies of pfirity. Above all, the :violet symbolizes the humility of the Son of God Who came to this earth as a little Child. In like manner the jasmine flowers tell us of the starry Healiens He left, and roses of the Divine Love which sent Alin to this earth: ELEANOUR SINCLAIR RODDE.