Fragrance of Narcissus

Fragrance of Narcissus

When Hilda Lathrop was a little thing, not more than ten years old, she used .to wonder why it hurt so much to be very happy that one could not bear the pain, and had to run away. She remembered one special day in particular long afterward, when she was a grown woman. She and her mamma of the beautiful, mourning eyes were walking with another lady in a narrow road that led between moss-grown, ferny walls, above the head of the lake of Geneva. The child felt dimly the presence of the wonderful blue below, gleaming like the turquoise ring on her wee finger, of the soft violet tones through which played the green of Alpine pastures in the distant Alps of Savoy, of the battlemented Dent du Midi, that rose, a serrated, snow-flecked rampart, cutting into the sky at the extremity of the lake. But, child-like, though she noticed these things she took more conscious glee in the fairy delicacy of the fern-clusters nestling on the old stone wall. Suddenly, however, the wall opened, and they stepped out into the wide free meadows that sloped downward to the water. The ladies exclaimed with delight; for in the fine deep grass there swayed gayly on vigorous stem radiant hosts, not of golden daffodils such as Wordsworth saw, but of starry narcissus. Fragrance, penetrating, elusive, filled the air; the small Hilda stood knee-deep in flowers; they danced on a bank above her, a white glory against the violet hills, they swept as far as eye could see, glistering leagues of distance beneath the white shining of the snows.
A listener in Babel
By Vida Dutton Scudder

There are five kinds of places where narcissi may be naturalized by the thousand— orchards, woods, shrubberies, meadows, and the banks of streams, lakes or ponds. In such places, the grass need not be cut until June, if at all, and by that time the leaves of the narcissus have decayed, showing that the bulbs are ripening. If the grass is cut before, the bulbs will be weakened. The cheapest and best variety for naturalizing is the Pheasant's Eye. Indeed it is the most important plant for wild gardening now generally available. Some of the most splendid floral pictures that have been painted in America in the last ten years have been made by planting these bulbs by the thousand. I expect to see the day when people will make pilgrimages to New England to see the'March and April flower shows. Her gaunt old hillsides will be suddenly transfigured by the apparition of countless fragrant white flowers— miles and miles of them—like the stars of the Milky Way for multitude!
Garden & home builder, Volumes 1-2
By Wilhelm Miller, Leonard Barron

. . . "The Narcissus wondrously glittering, a noble sight for all, whether immortal Gods, or mortal men; from whose root a hundred heads spring forth, and at the fragrant odour [thereof] all the broad heaven above, and all the earth laughed, and the salt-wave of the sea."
"Hymn To Demeter."

As I write, a narcissus, with lovely white blossoms scented with a most delicate and elusive fragrance, lifts its head over me as if in benediction. A little while ago all its subtle grace and aroma slept in the dark recesses of a bulb. If the soul of the narcissus could have uttered, in articulate speech, its grievance, I think it would have protested against the darkness and joylessness of its prison, but, really, the incarceration of the soul of the narcissus in its dungeon of ugliness and shadow was the decree of an inerrant wisdom, for it was only through confinement in the bulb that the narcissus could distill its fragrance and realize the perfect beauty of its blossom. The bulb was not a sepulcher; it was a nursery. Its finality was not its own darkness, but the dainty loveliness of the flower that now looks down upon me in benignant ministry.
Everyman's world
By Joseph Anthony Milburn