Thyme(Thymus vulgaris) in Literature

Thyme(Thymus vulgaris) in Literature\

So much have I extracted from my sprig of thyme, hovering over it bee-like, and now let me go on to say that my thyme-scented garden-posy came to me seasonably, inasmuch as it reminded me, in a sweet and supplementary way, of a little hill ramble which I had taken a day or two before, and about which there lingered in the memory a sense of fragrant garden herbs, early spring flowers, and other influences of a wilder kind. " Only lie long enough," says Hood, "and bed becomes a bed of thyme."
PAPERS OF THE Manchester Literary Club

We shall not find a fairer land afar
Than those thyme-scented hills we leave behind!
Soon the young lambs will bleat across the combes,
And breezes will bring puffs of hawthorn scent
Down Devon lanes; over the purple moors
Lavrocks will carol; and on the village greens
Around the May-pole, while the moon hangs low,
The boys and girls of England merrily swing
In country footing through the morrice dance.
Collected Poems: The flower of old Japan. .
By Alfred Noyes

Yes, we have walked together,

With buttercup dust on our shoes,
Thro' the lovely rainy weather

With nothing to win or lose,
And the wild-rose scent of the hedges,

And the wild-thyme scent of the hill,
And the fresh, damp smell of the river sedges

Are with us still.
By John Cowper Powys


ALOFT, above the sea, by the tall cliff's winding path,
A flitting foot treads down the sweet wild thyme,
When its fragrant bloom runs over all the mossy rath
And tides are full and the year is in its golden prime.

No flush of pomegranate, no breath of rich musk rose,

Or reddens or perfumes these regions where
My song and I go, singing, while the keen north wind blows

And birds fly low, and the widening skies are cool and fair.

But with the fresh sea-odours floating towards us here
And wild thyme's scent, outpressed by climbing feet,

And gleam of grey wings winnowing through the sunlight clear,
Travel my song and I, in a lone world cold and sweet.
The Irish monthly, Volume 14
By Jesuits. Ireland

The road to Jeres runs through a hilly, rugged plain, as dry as a piece of pumice-stone. This desert is said to be covered. in the spring, with a rich carpet of verdure, enamelled with wild flowers; broom, lavender and thyme, scent the air with their aromatic emanations; but at the time of year when we beheld it, all traces of vegetation had disappeared.
Wanderings in Spain
By Théophile Gautier, Thomas Robert McQuoid

Proudly Bonaly's grey-browed Castle towers,
Bounded by mountains, and bedded in flowers ;
Here hangs the blue bell, and there waves the broom;
Nurtured by art, rarest garden sweets bloom.
Heather and thyme scent the breezes that dally,
Playing amang the green knolls o' Bonaly.
By James Ballantine

From the German of Tkeodor Storm

Here on the noon-hushed hillside,
The wind to rest beguiled,

The leafy twigs hang drooping;
Beneath them sits the child.

Amid the wild thyme's fragrance
She sits; the perfumed air

Is filled with insects, humming
And glistening everywhere.

How silent lies the forest!

How woodland-rapt her gaze! On her brown hair the sunshine

A tender glory lays.

Far off—the cuckoo's laughter!

I think, in still surprise, Her eyes are golden—golden,

Like the Forest-Maiden's eyes!
A hill prayer: and other poems
By Marian Warner Wildman

The Wild Thyme (Thymus serpyllum) is too well known to need description. Its fragrance is always most powerfully emitted when the summer sun shines fiercest, and as perfumes have the power of barring out heat-rays, there can be no question that this quality prevents the thyme from being completely scorched up on the dry soils where it most loves to


(Jasione montand).

grow. Moreover, its presence may be protective to other plants, which reap the benefit, during hot weather, of its thermally opaque perfume. Again, we know that this aromatic perfume attracts its flowerfrequenting insects, and the well-known "Honey of Hymettus" is said to have owed its peculiar fragrance to the wild thyme flowers whence the bees had gathered it. Anyhow, these tracts of heath or moorland dry pastures and banks—" whereon wild thyme grows"—are perfect metropolises of insect life. The air is full of their busy and varied hum. Shelley speaks of "the bees on the bells of thyme," although in reality the flowers are not bell-shaped, but lipped (labiata). Among our English poets the fragrance of this plant has long been proverbial—

"Airy downs and gentle hills,
O'er grass with thyme bespread."

Armstrong speaks of these healthy spots where

"Thyme, the loved of bees, perfumes the air."
Mountain and moor
By John Ellor Taylor

The harebell's hue, and the violet blue,
And the sweet-briar joined her fragrant bough;
And the purple heath, and a woodbine wreath,
Twined lovelily round its brow ;
And the thyme's perfume, and the yellow broom,
Spread over the ground a golden bloom,
And formed to the sight
A carpet bright,
Of richest fairy tapestry;
And there the butterfly's crimson wings

In winnowing circlets play;
And the wild bee, pirate of odours, brings

The spoils of the summer's day;
And the nightingale, lost to the midnight, sings

The sunshiny hours away;
The dragonet flutters from flower to flower,
And sips the drops of the new-fallen shower.
James Edmeston

From Elbenich we entered the Jebel el Abid, inhabited by Arabs of the same name, and in four hours reached Zardes, where we slept, keeping, however, a good watch, as the Abid have a villanous reputation for thieving, and during the night gave us more than one alerte. Zardes is a valley containing wells, and surrounded by hills, in the protruding summits of which are many crevices, wherein grow the juniper and wild thyme, whose perfume fills the air; the ground around glittering with white flowers. This country, towards evening, when a pink tinge covers it, reminded me frequently of a Scotch moor.
Wanderings in North Africa
By James Hamilton (traveller.)

Ye breezes that spring in some land unknown,
Or sleep on your clouds of the eider down,
Come over the mountain and over the dale,
More sweet than Arabia's spicy gale!
Come over the heath-flower's purple bloom,
And gather the birk's and the thyme's perfume !
For these are the sweets that bring no alloy
To dark Caledonia's mountain joy.
By James Hogg

A soft wind is always blowing, but the only merchandise it carries is wild thyme perfume and the fragrant airs that waft from meadow-lands and old-fashioned gardens full of spice pinks and cinnamon roses.
Rosemary and rue
By Martha Everts Holden

"Of all places I have ever seen on this globe there is an area of about five hundred square miles in Southern France in which I would gladly, in my next incarnation, be born a peasant. In this happy tract of the Roussillon nature has been more than kind, she has been effusive. To begin with, there is an elusive fragrance in the air, which is attributable partly to the presence of a perfumed herb with the scent of thyme, but more delicate; and partly to the pervading aroma from the woods. Next to Egypt, the aroma of which fascinates me, I love the southeast corner of France. The honey of Narbonne carries the aroma of the thyme, and the bees of Roussillon are better bees than the bees of Hybla. This is the land where the gentlemen of France have fought and loved and drained the cup of life through centuries of Romance."
The spell of France
By Caroline Atwater Mason