Fragrance of Broom/Genet/Gorse/Furze


0 Yellow Whin* in the wood!

O yellow Broom in the pines! Your goldenness is wondrous good,

And with your scent combines

To image delicate wines.

0 eyes of the life of the world!
0 breaths of the world's perfume!

Small sprites lie close within you curled,
And twinkle through the Broom,
And the Whin's light illume.

* Gorse or Furze.

The Meda maiden: and other poems
By James Carnegie Southesk (Earl of)

Let us now cross this hit of waste moorland. How beautiful are the golden tassels of the broom, and how strong and pungent its fragrance. Linked in the heart of every Scot is the yellow broom; with his own hillsides and sweet associations inseparably linked. Like the thistle and the heather, it is a national property, enshrined in emphatic enthusiasm in Scotland's song, and deeper still enshrined in the hearts of her absent sons. Would that we had the pen of the immortal Christopher,' that old man eloquent,' to do justice to the poetry of the Scottish broom!
Titan: a monthly magazine..., Volume 6
By James Hogg

The wind would carry him the scent of gorse, like peaches and apricots. There was something in that scent which both mocked and delighted him. It was an irony that the huge couchant beast of Boarzell should smell so sweet—surely the wind should have brought him a pungent ammoniacal smell like the smell of stables ... or perhaps the smell of blood.

But, after all, this subtle gorse-fragrance had its suitableness, for though gorse may cast out the scent of soft fruit from its flowers, its stalks are wire and its roots iron, its leaves are so many barbs for those who would lay hands on its sweetness. It was like Boarzell itself, which was Reuben's delight and his dread, his beloved and his enemy.
Sussex gorse: the story of a fight
By Sheila Kaye-Smith

Only a step or two beyond the ridge and the air was warm and still, like a June evening. I threw myself on the slope and felt the rapture of repose. I was under the lee of a flaming gorse bush, and the sweet shadowy fragrance stole upon the senses unawares ; something ineffably sweet and subtle seemed to prevade the moveless air, the subtle sweetness was strange and new— were there spirits of the earth here as well as of the sea ?
I forgot the weariness, and half raised myself to see whence this new wonder came. The clump that sheltered me was ablaze with the deepest orange-yellow bloom ; each flowering spiky head was an abyss of warm, deep, odorous colour ; furze like this, indeed, I had never seen before, every bloesom large and open wide, and countless full open blossoms, jostling each other upon every stem, and the flowering stems jostling each other on the burning bush. I drew a big branch towards me, and drank like nectar a great draught of the pure sweet scent. But the sweet gorse is a treasure, not a mystery, and the first breath I drew on this spot was laden with a mystery of sweetness. I lay back upon the grass again with closed eyes, inviting the ethereal messenger, and my heart sank as for half a moment I waited in vain for the perplexing fragrance. I moved impatiently, and threw my arm back to make a pillow ; at the very moment something like fairy fingers seemed to pull my hair, and in a breath the scent was there again, and the simple magic of its being read. Mingled with the gorse, half choked by the robuster clumps, but thrusting its tender green leaves tirumphantly through the cushions of the younger plants, a very thicket of sweetbriar was growing all round, and the shoots I had crushed unknowingly were sending out their sweetest fragrance to mix with the simple nectar of the whin-bloom in a cunning draught of unearthly delicacy. Those may laugh at me who will, and count it strange to be thus moved by the breath of a passing scent, but my heart grew warm with love for those children of the warm, lone earth; they had shed their fragrance year by year, and until now none had loved them for it. They were generous to me, indeed, with the one-sided generosity of power; it was I, not they, that were the richer for my loving them, for thinking with a tender joy that Love himself had learnt his sweetness from the flower's kisses, wherewith the great mother fed his youth, and the refrain to the pretty fancy came to me like an omen:—
" Cras amet qui nunquam amavit, quique ama
vit eras amet."
The sunlit waves came to me with a startling and happy message that the outer world was fair, whether I saw it or no; bat the sweet-briar among the prickles challenged me to own a spiritual truth—the world was lovable, whether I saw why or no, and whether its sweetness was beloved—as by me to-day—or left unseen, undreamt of, through the lonely years.
The literary world
By James Clarke & Co

The fragrance of gorse is not of the highest order, yet it holds and enchants me above most flowers, and being itself a sun's child, like the sunflower, or sun-gazer, as we call it in Spanish, its habit is the exact opposite of that of the "melancholy flowers" which shed their soulful fragrance like tears in the darkness and silence of night. The gorse is most fragrant at noon, when the sun shines brightest and hottest. At such an hour, when I approach a thicket of furze, the wind blowing from it, I am always tempted to cast myself down on the grass to lie for an hour drinking in the odor. The effect is to make me languid; to wish to lie till I sleep and live again in dreams in another world, in a vast open-air cathedral where a great festival of ceremony is perpetually in progress, and acolytes, in scores and hundreds, with beautiful bright faces, in flameyellow and orange surplices, are ever and ever coming toward me, swinging their censers until I am ready to swoon in that heavenly incense.

Yet, as I have said, this fragrance is not of the higher order, since in its richness there lurks a suggestion of flavors. Its powerful effect is probably partly due to association with the sight impressions the blossoming plant has imparted to the mind of its splendor.
On the Sense of Smell

The rain has brought out all savours. The air is a very bouquet of sweetness. The silver birches trooping in dainty procession like dancing nymphs down the sides of the bog, fill the whole atmosphere with that subtle and delicious fragrance they possess while the sap is rising, that emanates not from flower or leaf only, but from the whole tree itself. And from the golden gorse—the king of the moorland—rises a scent of apricots that exceeds all else for richness. It has more the quality of a tropic perfume than of one in our chill northern clime. A noble plant truly is the gorse—the furze, or "fuzz," as we Hampshire folk call it. Save in springtime on a Californian hill-side it is difficult to find a more vivid mass of colour than a sheet of gorse in full bloom. Almost rivalling it in intensity is the broom. Perhaps the colour is as brilliant. Yet it is a slightly colder yellow, wanting the touch of red gold that gives the gorse its strength.
A Moorland Road by Rose Kingsley

After this we came upon the wild stretch of open country known as Creech Heath. Heather, gorse, and a wiry sort of grass seemed about all the vegetation that flourished there. On either hand the gorse, in full flower and fragrance, spread around us like a golden sea, and scented the air with its peculiar perfume—a golden sea bounded in the near distance by the purple Purbeck hills, that rose mistily and majestically before us in the hazy summer atmosphere. What a country this Isle of Purbeck is for colour, with its gorse-spread commons, winestained heaths, purple hills, that fade away into soft, blue, dreamy distances, and gleams of sapphire and sparkling seas. It may have been due in some measure to the almost perfect day, but such a feast of rich and varied colour I never remember having beheld anywhere before: the glories of Italy and Turner's poetic visions of many-hued landscapes seemed to pale before it. Should any landscape artist find that he is getting his pictures too gray or dull, I would seriously advise him to hie hither with his canvases and pigments, and try to paint up to the brilliant colour and joyousness of the Purbeck hills and dales and the gleaming summer seas that wash the rock-bound coast around.
On southern English roads
By James John Hissey

A glorious sun, set in a sky of deepest sapphire, shone down on us, filling every vein with rejoicing; the ever-flowering gorse, faint with its load of perfume, the bruised thyme, the wild mint and chamomile yielded their fragrance beneath the ringing feet of our horses; the air was clear, and-fresh, and pure beyond a citizen's dream, and from every peeping cottage garden, hidden between huge rocks, or resting against some giant mass of granite, there came wafted to our lips the scent of flowers, — of lilac, of lily, stock, and roses. 1 breathed this perfumed atmosphere with intense delight. I felt the beauty of earth and sky filling my whole being, feeding me with a spiritual bread that satisfied the hunger and thirst of my sou', while every thought ran freer, and the rich, happy blood of youth dyed my cheeks with brightest rose.
Library of famous fiction, Volume 1

Yet, here and there stands a solitary veteran of the ruin woods, and Birkland and Bilhaghe give us a grand old fragment as memento of what Sherwood once was. Ha! how delicious to tread this soft, short turf. To see the drooping boughs of the ancient yet blithe birches— to scent their fragrance. What a peace! what woodland sounds of cuckoo and woodpecker, and wryneckj and cushat! What a forest odour from the trodden turf! See! those old giants! those oaks of the days of King John and Clipstone Palace! How they lift up their black and shattered heads, that have felt the tempests of a thousand years! What a depth of heather! What a rich fragrance from those golden heaps of flaming gorse! Truly this is a sample of the past magnificence of Sherwood when it stretched from Nottingham to Whitby in Yorkshire; and what individual oaks are these—huge in circumference as the tower of a village church!
Howitt's journal of literature and popular progress, Volume 3
By Mary Botham Howitt

THE hillside, yellow with gorse, sloped gently downward for some distance, then apparently ceased to exist, its golden edge meeting sharply, as far as eye could reach, the robin's-egg blue of the sky. A gigantic knife could have cut no more definite line. The wind was still, the noon sunshine intense. Little ripples of heat trembled up into the ether, bearing with them the fragrance of gorse and grass, and the good clean scent of the earth. It was a world to itself — what might lie beyond its serene expanse, unless otherwise known, could only be conjectured.
Her Heart's Desire.*

The furze, on the other hand, is the idol of your heaths and copses. This plant, of course, is not without its thorn. But its smooth and tender stem, its frail and fragrant yellow blossoms, — those soft, wee shells of amber, — the profusion and the symmetry of its bushes, the delicacy of its tone of mystery, all tend to emphasize its attractive and inviting charms. A furze-bush in full bloom is the crowning glory of your heaths and copses, thickly overgrown. In the wadis below one seldom meets with the furze; it only abounds on the hill-tops, among gray cliffs and crannied rocks and boulders, where even the ferns and poppies feel at home. And a little rest on one of these smooth, fern-spread rock-couches, under the cool and shady arbor of furzebushes, in their delicate fragrance of mystery, is ineffable delight to a pilgrim soul. Here, indeed, is a happy image of Transcendentalism. Here is Emerson for me, — a furze-bush in full bloom.
The Atlantic monthly, Volume 111

Every year I go to the Everley woods to gather wild lilies of the valley. It is one of the delights that May—the charming, ay, and the merry month of May, which I love as fondly as ever that bright and joyous season was loved by our older poets—regularly brings in her train; one of those rational pleasures in which (and it ia the great point of superiority over pleasures that are artificial and worldly) there is no disappointment. About four years ago, I made such a visit. The day was glorious, and we had driven through lanes perfumed by the fresh green birch, with its bark silvery and many-tinted, and over commons where the very air was loaded with the heavy fragrance of the furze,—an odour resembling in richness its golden blossoms, just as the scent of the birch, is cool, refreshing, and penetrating, like the exquisite colour of its young leaves,...
The Spectator, Volume 10