Fragrant Plants in Prose and Poetry-Lilacs

Images of Lilacs

Fragrant Plants in Prose and Poetry-Lilacs

The fine evenings are come back; the trees begin to put forth their
shoots; hyacinths, jonquils, violets, and lilacs perfume the baskets of
the flower-girls--all the world have begun their walks again on the quays
and boulevards. After dinner, I, too, descend from my attic to breathe
the evening air.
An "Attic" Philosopher by E. Souvestre

"No, neither have I!" Julia said, with a long sigh, and for a few moments they both watched the coals in silence. The room was quite dark now; the firelight winked like a drowsy eye; here and there the gold of a picture frame or the smooth curve of a bit of copper or brassware twinkled. The windows showed opaque squares of dull gray; elsewhere was only heavy shadow, except where Barbara's white gown made a spot of dull relief in the gloom, and Julia's slipper buckles caught the light. A great jar of lilacs, somewhere in the room, sent out a subtle and delicious scent.
The Story Of Julia Page, by Kathleen Norris

Then all at once the Duckling could flap his wings: they beat the air more strongly than before, and bore him stoutly away; and before he well knew it, he found himself in a great garden, where the elder-trees stood in flower, and bent their long green branches down to the winding canal, and the lilacs smelt sweet. Oh, here it was beautiful, fresh, and springlike! and from the thicket came three glorious white swans; they rustled their wings, and sat lightly on the water. The Duckling knew the splendid creatures, and felt a strange sadness.
THE UGLY DUCKLING by Hans Christian Andersen

The quarter had not changed, and it still had the appearance of a
suburban faubourg. They had just erected, within gunshot of the house
where the Violettes and Gerards lived, a large five-story building,
upon whose roof still trembled in the wind the masons' withered bouquets.
But that was all. In front of them, on the lot "For Sale," enclosed by
rotten boards, where one could always see tufts of nettles and a goat
tied to a stake, and upon the high wall above which by the end of April
the lilacs hung in their perfumed clusters, the rains had not effaced
this brutal declaration of love, scraped with a knife in the plaster:
"When Melie wishes she can have me," and signed "Eugene."
A Romance of Youth by Francois Coppee

One end rose into a rococo tower, lit then with the curious kind of
clearness produced by a half-moon's light. In the centre, before the
hospital door, projected a pillared portico, under which our carriage
drove, and at the other end lurked the shades of a massive gate-way with
cobbled road leading through. The carriage-road past the front was
bordered by lilacs in bloom--on the one side, as we went through, all
shadows, on the other faintly colored, mingling their fragrance with
that of huge rose-bushes.
The Young Seigneur, by Wilfrid Chateauclair


A huge cherry-tree grew outside, so close that its boughs tapped against the house, and it was so thick-set with blossoms that hardly a leaf was to be seen. On both sides of the house was a big orchard, one of apple-trees and one of cherry-trees, also showered over with blossoms; and their grass was all sprinkled with dandelions. In the garden below were lilac-trees purple with flowers, and their dizzily sweet fragrance drifted up to the window on the morning wind.
Anne Of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery

A sudden sunlight smote the gloom;
And round about them swept a breeze,
With faint breaths as of clover-bloom;
A bird was heard, through drone of bees,--
Then, far and clear and eerily,
A child's voice from an orchard-tree--
Then laughter, sweet as the perfume
Of lilacs, could the hearing see.
And he--O Love! he fed thy name
On bruised kisses, while her dim
Deep eyes, with all their inner flame,
Like drowning gems were turned on him.
from THE QUARREL by by James Whitcomb Riley

But the place where this spectacle can be seen in the most charming way is Tzarskoe Selo. We were favored with superb weather on both the festal days. On Sunday morning every one went to church, as usual. The small church behind the Lyceum, where Pushkin was educated, with its un-Russian spire, ranks as a Court church; that in the Old Palace across the way being opened only on special occasions, now that the Court is not in residence. Outside, the choir sat under the golden rain of acacia blossoms and the hedge of fragrant lilacs until the last moment, the sunshine throwing into relief their gold-laced black cloth vestments and crimson belts. They were singers from one of the regiments stationed in town, and crimson was the regimental color.
Russian Rambles, by Isabel F. Hapgood

The viewless spirits of flowers came through the open window into the quiet room; and the winds,[Pg 53] which made the curtains tremble, gently lifted the tresses of the sleeping angel. Then the chiming of village bells came and went in pulses of soft sound. How musical they were that morning! How the robins showered their silvery notes, like rain-drops among the leaves! There was holy life in everything—the lilac-scented atmosphere, the brooks, the grass, and the flowers that lay budding on the bosom of delicious June! And thus it was, in the exquisite spring-time, that the hand of death led little Bell into Soul-land.
Daisy's Necklace, by Thomas Bailey Aldrich

He was, in an extraordinarily complete sense, a celebrant of the natural world. His imagination was enslaved by the miraculous pageant of the visible earth, and he sought tirelessly to transfix some moment of its wonder or its splendour or its terror in permanent images of tone. The melancholy beauty of the autumn woods, the loveliness of quiet waters under fading skies, the sapphire and emerald glories, or the ominous chantings, of the sea, the benign and mysterious majesty of summer stars, the lyric sweetness of a meadow: these things urged him to musical transcripts, notations of loving tenderness and sincerity. His music is redolent of the breath and odour of woodland places, of lanes and moors and gardens; or it is saturated with salt spray; or it communicates the incommunicable in its voicing of that indefinable and evanescent sense of association which is evoked by certain aspects, certain phases, of the outer world—that sudden emotion of things past and irrecoverable which may cling about a field at sunset, or a quiet street at dusk, or a sudden intimation of spring in the scent of lilacs.
Edward MacDowell, by Lawrence Gilman

When we reached the door of the theater, the streets were shining with rain. I had prudently brought along Mrs. Harling’s useful Commencement present, and I took Lena home under its shelter. After leaving her, I walked slowly out into the country part of the town where I lived. The lilacs were all blooming in the yards, and the smell of them after the rain, of the new leaves and the blossoms together, blew into my face with a sort of bitter sweetness. I tramped through the puddles and under the showery trees, mourning for Marguerite Gauthier as if she had died only yesterday, sighing with the spirit of 1840, which had sighed so much, and which had reached me only that night, across long years and several languages, through the person of an infirm old actress. The idea is one that no circumstances can frustrate. Wherever and whenever that piece is put on, it is April.
My √Āntonia by Willa Sibert Cather

It was a summer night. The air was fragrant with the perfume of lilacs and apple-blooms. The young moon was going down in the west, throwing its departing beams upon the unfinished tower of King’s Chapel. Ruth, looking out from her white-curtained window, beheld a handful of cloud drift across the crescent orb and dissolve in thin air. She could hear the footsteps of passers along the street growing fainter as they receded. The bell on the Old Brick Meetinghouse struck the hour, and then, in the distance, she heard the watchman’s voice, “Ten o’clock, and all is well.”
Daughters of the Revolution and Their Times, by
Charles Carleton Coffin


The porch was an enchanted place, walled around with starlit darkness, visited by wisps of breezes shaking down from their wings the breath of lilac and syringa, flowering wild grapes, and plowed fields. Down at the foot of our sloping lawn the little river, still swollen by the melted snow from the mountains, plunged between its stony banks and shouted its brave song to the stars.
Americans All, by Various

After a long continuance of cold and cheerless weather, the morning of Saturday, the 26th of May, 1877, was bright and genial. An unclouded sun, and a warm south-western wind, awoke the birds to melody, and gave the flowers new fragrance. As the train bore me through pleasant Surrey, the fields not only smiled—they absolutely seemed to laugh with joy at the advent of the first day of summer, and when we stopped at the pretty station of plutocratic Surbiton, the air was laden with the perfume of lilacs and of hawthorn blossom. From a dense thicket, nearly overhead, came cheerfully the melodious notes of "the careful thrush," who, as Browning says—
"Sings his song thrice over,
Lest I should think he never could recapture
That first, fine, careless rapture."
Personal Recollections of Birmingham and
Birmingham Men, by E. Edwards


She had always liked the light freshness of chintz in her bedroom, leaving luxury to her boudoir; but here she had furnished no boudoir; her stay was to be short, and her bedroom was as large as two ordinary rooms. She spent many hours in it, when its violet and white simplicities appealed to her mood. Today it was redolent of the lilacs Clavering had sent her, and through the open windows came the singing of birds in the few trees still left in the old street.
Black Oxen, by Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton