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

The Poet’s Flower Quotations
Original post date: 2015 Sep 21
1st major revision: 2019 Dec 19
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