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MRS. SARAH JOSEPHA HALE,
NORTHWOOD; "TRAITS OF AMERICAN LIFE;"
HARRY GUY," ETC.
HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY
GRENVILLE H. NORCROSS
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1848, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of
STEREOTYPED AT THE
A NEW INTRODUCTION.
SIXTEEN years ago we prepared FLORA'S INTERPRETER, the first part of this work. The many imitations of our plan, as well as the extensive and steady demand for the book, have equally proved its excellence.
We have now added a new and original department of Floral literature, namely, the mystical language of flowers, those sweet messengers of nature; and FORTUNA FLORA may be considered as completing the work. We trust this last part will be received with favor by that portion of our friends to whom "years have taught wisdom." Such persons will not regard this effort to stimulate the young to the observance of the hidden meanings which may lie concealed in the flower volumes of nature as unworthy their notice. They will feel that
Wisdom is with the heart.
As falls the dew
And the young will learn these lessons easier, and remember them longer, when connected with the innocent amusements that belong to their flower time of life.
Flowers have always been symbols of the affections, probably ever since our first parents tended theirs in the garden of God's own planting. They seem hallowed from that association, and intended, naturally, to represent pure, tender, and devoted thoughts and feelings. The expression of these feelings has been, in all ages, the province of poetry; therefore we must refer to the poets in order to settle the philology of flowers. This we have done. We have carefully searched the poets and writers on Eastern manners, where flowers are now the messengers of the heart, and have selected the most approved interpretations.
We have, moreover, endeavored to unite real knowledge with this fanciful language; the arrangement of each flower with its botanic as well as common name, and also its class and order, will be found of much utility by familiarizing or fixing these terms in the mind of the reader. The locality of the plant, too, will enable those who desire the information to judge where any particular flower may best be cultivated whether in the garden or greenhouse.
But the most important aim of the work was to select and incorporate with our love of nature and flowers the choicest and the best specimens of American poetry. In this we think we have succeeded, and that the beauty, variety, and excellence of these gems of thought, fancy, feeling, and passion, can never be equalled in any work of this kind - because we had the first choice of the field; unless, indeed, our imitators take our selections bodily from FLORA'S INTERPRETER, as some of them have already done to an extent which is very obvious.* But we trust that in the part now added- FORTUNA FLORA · -no one will thus interfere, for some years at least, to take from us the profits of projecting and preparing a work that has cost us much time and research.
The choice extracts from the British Poets are, of course, open to every writer, and are often used; but we have endeavored to place these truly classical specimens of the Old World literature in a new light, by linking them, as it were, with the hopes and loves of our "own green forest land."
We feel quite at liberty to select whatever is best and brightest from the productions of British genius for this work, because FLORA'S INTERPRETER has been republished in London, and, under the title of "The Book of Flowers," sold largely without any remuneration to the author. It is quite probable this new and enlarged work may have the same honor.
To the youth of America we dedicate anew this book we have prepared for them. May it inspire our young women to cultivate those virtues which can only be represented by the fairest flowers; and may our young men strive to be worthy of the love that these fairest flowers can so eloquently reveal.
BOSTON, August 1, 1848.
* It may be best to state that all the poetic selections here designated 66 anonymous," were written by Mrs. Hale, expressly for Flora's Interpreter. Those who use these will know from whom they borrow.