Fragrant Plants in Prose and Poetry-Violets

Fragrant Plants in Prose and Poetry-Violets

The myrrh-hyacinth
spread across low slopes,
violets streaked black ridges
through the grass.
Sea Garden, by Hilda Doolittle

But if you tend with warmth, you know,
Your violets, they give
Sweet scent again, as if to show
How glad they are to live.
We think if some one loved us too
Our hearts would break to prove
By all that we could say or do,
How glad we were to love!
E. Nesbit


'Twas just at sundown, when the leaves were wet
With evening dew,
Far in the fields where sky and violet
Blend rifts of blue--

But for a moment, deep among the flowers
And rain-sweet grass,
I saw her--loved her--and as April showers
Beheld her pass.

O, the lone vastness of the afterglow,
Unknown before;
Shall e'er I see that face where violets grow,
Perchance, once more!

Yet no one comes save night, with wild regrets
And silent pain--
Only sometimes the scent of violets
On wind-blown rain.
The Rose-Jar, by Thomas S. (Thomas Samuel)

"If the season had yielded me white lilies, according to its wont, or
red roses with sweet smelling savour, I had plucked them from the
countryside, or from the turf of my little garden, and had sent them,
small gifts for great ladies! But since I lack the first, I e'en pay the
second, for he presents roses in the eyes of love, who offers only
violets. Yet, these violets I send are, among perfumed herbs, of noble
stock, and with equal grace breathe in their royal purple, while
fragrance with beauty vies to steep their petals. May you, likewise,
both have each charm that these possess, and may the perfume of your
future reward be a glory that blooms everlastingly."
Early Double Monasteries, by Constance Stoney

The violet's fragile petals
Enfolded a heart of gold,
And a deeper wealth of perfume,
Than the tiny cup could hold;
So the great wind roaring above
Sent a tiny zephyr down,
To drift aside the sheltering bloom,
And bereave her of her crown.
Caris Brooke

"I never saw anything so sweet as these violets," cried Edith, in a rapture. They were as sweet as they could be, little English violets, white as snow, and perfuming the air. The [pg 31] flowers had come to Virginia early in the new spring, and already there were early roses, slender lilies of the valley, with tiny cups to catch the dewdrops, and the fragrant yellow jasmine flinging its golden bells over every roadside fence and tree. Old Uncle Moses had taken the children to the woods, and there they had seen the jasmine in its glory, and the white stars of the dogwood shining through the green branches far and near.
Five Happy Weeks, by Margaret E. Sangster

Have you walked in the woods
When twilight wraps a veil of mist
Around the gray-green trees
In early spring?
It is then the snow-white trillium
Gleam like stars from the carpet
Of last year's leaves:
And tall white violets glow
Like clouds of nebulae along the path.
And flecked, like points of light
In the quiet pools of water
Among the gray-green boles,
Are the stars of heaven.
A Little Window, by Jean M. Snyder

As the moon sent a white beam through the little square window of old Uncle Tim's cabin, it formed a long panel of light upon its smoke-stained wall, bringing into clear view an old banjo hanging upon a rusty nail. Nothing else in the small room was clearly visible. Although it was Christmas eve, there was no fire upon the broad hearth, and from the open door came the odor of honeysuckles and of violets. Winter is often in Louisiana only a name given by courtesy to the months coming between autumn and spring, out of respect to the calendar; and so it was this year.
Solomon Crow's Christmas Pockets and Other
Tales, by Ruth McEnery Stuart

It is a very big bundle, but not very heavy. I take it into my
library, and there untie the ribbons and unfasten the paper wrappings;
and I see--what? a log! a first-class log! a real Christmas log, but
so light that I know it must be hollow. Then I find that it is
indeed composed of two separate pieces, opening on hinges, and
fastened with hooks. I slip the hooks back, and find myself inundated
with violets! Violets! they pour over my table, over my knees, over
the carpet. They tumble into my vest, into my sleeves. I am all
perfumed with them.
"Therese! Therese! fill me some vases with water, and bring them
here, quick! Here are violets sent to us I know not from what country
nor by what hand; but it must be from a perfumed country, and by a
very gracious hand.... Do you hear me, old crow?"
I have put all the violets on my table--now completely covered by the
odorous mass. But there is still something in the log...a book--a
manuscript. It is...I cannot believe it, and yet I cannot doubt
it.... It is the "Legende Doree"!--It is the manuscript of the Clerk
Alexander! Here is the "Purification of the Virgin" and the
"Coronation of Proserpine";--here is the legend of Saint Droctoveus.
I contemplate this violet-perfumed relic. I turn the leaves of it--
between which the dark rich blossoms have slipped in here and there;
and, right opposite the legend of Saint-Cecilia, I find a card
bearing this name:
"Princess Trepof."
The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard
by Anatole France

In other portions of the grounds the stone-pines lifted their dense clump of branches upon a slender length of stem, so high that they looked like green islands in the air, flinging down a shadow upon the turf so far off that you hardly knew which tree had made it. Again, there were avenues of cypress, resembling dark flames of huge funeral candles, which spread dusk and twilight round about them instead of cheerful radiance. The more open spots were all abloom, even so early in the season, with anemones of wondrous size, both white and rose-colored, and violets that betrayed themselves by their rich fragrance, even if their blue eyes failed to meet your own. Daisies, too, were abundant, but larger than the modest little English flower, and therefore of small account.
The Marble Faun, Volume I., by Nathaniel Hawthorne

[58]As the season advanced, the room was not full, and the long French windows stood open. Before them was a balcony facing the Platz, with its fountains, its shrubbery, and its flowers. The breath of spring and early summer was perfumed by mignonette and English violets, as it floated away from the murmur and the brightness of the brilliant scenes beyond up through every alcove of this quiet scholar's retreat.
In and Around Berlin, by Minerva Brace Norton

A vender of violets shuffled up beside them; Langham picked up a dewy bundle of blossoms, and their perfume seemed to saturate the air till it tasted on the tongue.
She shook her head. “No, no, please; the fragrance is too heavy.”…
“Won’t you accept them?” he inquired, bluntly.
Again she shook her head; there was indecision in the smile, assent in the gesture. However, he perceived neither.
She took a short step forward. The wind whipped the fountain jet, and a fanlike cloud of spray drifted off across the asphalt. Then they moved on together.
Presently she said, quietly, “I believe I will carry a bunch of those violets;” and she waited for him to go back through the fountain spray, find the peddler, and rummage among the perfumed heaps in the basket. “Because,” she added, cheerfully, as he returned with the flowers, “I am going to the East Tenth Street Mission, and I meant to take some flowers, anyway.”
“If you would keep that cluster and let me send the whole basket to your mission—” he began.
A Young Man in a Hurry, by Robert W. Chambers

It was one of those afternoons in late April which are as mild and balmy as any June day. The air was full of the chirps and twitters of nest-building birds, and of sweet indefinable odors from half-developed leaf-buds and cherry and pear blossoms. The wisterias overhead were thickly starred with pointed pearl-colored sacs, growing purpler with each hour, which would be flowers before long; the hedges were quickening into life, the long pensile willow-boughs and the honey-locusts hung in a mist of fine green against the sky, and delicious smells came with every puff of wind from the bed of white violets under the parlor windows.
Clover, by Susan Coolidge

This may seem a bit flowery, but in truth many fine cheeses hold a
trace of the bouquet of the flowers that have enriched the milk.
Alpine blooms and herbs haunt the Gruyère, Parmesan wafts the scent of
Parma violets, the Flower Cheese of England is perfumed with the
petals of rose, violet, marigold and jasmine.
The Complete Book of Cheese, by Robert Carlton Brown

Down in a green and shady bed
A modest violet grew;
Its stalk was bent, it hung its head,
As if to hide from view.
And yet it was a lovely flower,
No colours bright and fair;
It might have graced a rosy bower,
Instead of hiding there.
Yet there it was content to bloom,
In modest tints arrayed;
And there diffused its sweet perfume,
Within the silent shade.
Then let me to the valley go,
This pretty flower to see;
That I may also learn to grow
In sweet humility.
Jane Taylor.

"In the little door of the bedroom one already feels well-being. A trail of the smell of thyme and violets that comes and goes with the breeze from the open window leads like a delicate hand towards where he lies.... Peace. All death has done has been to infuse the color of his skin with a deep violet veiling of ashes.
Rosinante to the Road Again
John Dos Passos

He landed at the usual place, a bit of sandy shore near the Wiley
house, and walked drearily up the bank through the woods. Under
the shade of the pines the white stars of the hepatica glistened
and the pale anemones were coming into bloom. Partridge-berries
glowed red under their glossy leaves, and clumps of violets
sweetened the air. Squirrels chattered, woodpeckers tapped,
thrushes sang; but Stephen was blind and deaf to all the sweet
harbingers of spring.
Rose O' the River by Kate Wiggin