Flower Poetry Fridays: The Winter Hyacinth

Welcome back to Flower Poetry Fridays with Mrs. Sigourney. Each Friday a new poem will be posted from her The Voice Of Flowers.


How beautiful thou art, my winter flower !
Day after day thy mesh of slender roots,
That mid the water wrought their busy way,
I’ve watch’d intently through the chrystal vase
That deck’d my mantel-piece.

Pink Hyacinth in Bud
Pink Hyacinth in Bud

                              Then, bursting forth,
Came leaves, and swelling buds, and floral bells,
Replete with fragrance: while thy graceful
Fair Hyacinth, attracted every eye,
And many a phrase of admiration woke,
As from a lover’s lip; —while unto me
Thou wert as a companion, skill’d to smile
All loneliness away.

                              But now—alas !
I mark the plague-spot stealing o’er thy brow,
And know that thou must die.

Pink Hyacinth Flowering
Pink Hyacinth Flowering

                              In thy brief space,
Say—did thine inmost soul remember Him
Of whom thy rare and pencill’d beauty spake
So tenderly to us ? And was thy breath
A pure and sweet ascription to His praise ?
We trust it was ; for those who teach of heaven
Should have its spirit too.

                              Yet, if like us,
Poor erring ones, thou e’er didst leave undone
What ‘t was the duty of thy life to do,
Haste, and repent thee ! for the time is short—
The Spoiler cometh !

                              Drooping on the stem,
Methought it meekly folded its faint leaves
For the last, voiceless prayer ; while unto me
A gush of fragrance was its benison.

At morn I came. No more its bosom glow’d ;
A heavy sleep hung o’er its leaden eyes,—
And dews like funeral tears.

                              Oh, Friend ! whose gift
Was the dark bulb that veil’d this glorious
And unto whom, in gratitude, I turn’d,
As its rich charms develop’d—come with me,
And let us gather from its wither’d lips
Some lingering sigh of wisdom.

                              If we blend
True love to God with every kindly deed
Unto our fellow man, and steadfast stand
At duty’s post, still inly bow’d, as those
Who feel the time is short—may we not wait
For sleep’s last angel, full of placid trust,
Like this sweet, folded flower ?

Red Hyacinth in the Garden
Red Hyacinth in the Garden

The Winter Hyacinth reminds us about the beauty to behold in our floral friends. And indeed, in the midst of Winter, a pretty flower can be a good friend in providing so many smiles.

How interesting it is to watch the hyacinth bulb grow from a tangle of roots. Long green leaves rise up with tiny flower buds that blossom into very fragrant flowers.

Mrs. Sigourney’s message to us is about the fleeting nature of life and she warns us to take heed. Life is too short for regrets.

Take time to watch the hyacinth grow. And smile. 🙂

I’m sure there’s a lot more meaning in her poem when you thrown in the religious aspect, but I really like the part about the admiration for the flowers, especially hyacinth.

Come back next Friday for the next installment in our series of flower poems from Mrs. Sigourney’s The Voice of Flowers, “He Told His Love In Flowers”.

Flower Poetry Fridays: Flowers

Welcome to the first Flower Poetry Fridays with Mrs. Sigourney. I’ll be posting a new poem each week from her The Voice Of Flowers.


Beautiful day lilies found by the wayside.
Beautiful day lilies found by the wayside.

SWEET playmates of life’s earliest hours !
They ne’er upbraid the child,
Who, in the wantonness of mirth,
Uproots them on the wild ;
And when the botanist, his shaft,
With cruel skill, doth ply,
Reproachless ‘neath the fatal wound,
Martyrs to science die.

Wreathed brightly mid the locks of youth,
They come to beauty’s aid,
And in this ministry of love
All unreluctant fade ;
To grace the bridal and the feast,
From sun and shower, they bring
Such robes of glorious tint, as sham’d
Judea’s gorgeous king.

And when the fallen meet the scorn
Of man’s disdainful eye,
They smile amid his path of thorn
With sweet and pitying sigh ;
And to the brow of guilt and care,
The heart by anguish riven,
Still point, with angel-finger, where
The sinner is forgiven.

They shrink not in our ghastly shroud
Their sad abode to take,
And keep their vigil o’er the tomb,
When all beside forsake ;
Down in their own dark sleep of death
They sink at wintry hour,
But in new glory rise to show
The soul’s immortal dower.

Oh ! sharers in our time of joy,
And weepers in our woe,
We bless ye, –children of the sky,
That by the wayside grow ;
That to the cottage eaves go up,
Or wreathe the courtly hall,
Still, like the Power who call’d ye forth,
Dispensing love to all.

Children pick flowers and botanists study them. We use their bright colors to adorn people and things. Flowers touch our lives at many turns, at both happy and sad events like weddings and funerals.

More than having an appreciation of flowers, the underlying message in the poem, “Flowers”, is about expressing that appreciation and delighting in it whenever we experience flowers playing important roles in our lives.

Come back next Friday for the next installment in our series of flower poems from Mrs. Sigourney’s The Voice of Flowers, “The Winter Hyacinth”.

Mrs. Sigourney’s The Voice of Flowers Slated for Fridays

The first month of Winter has given us some really cold temperatures and a bit of snow to appreciate looking out from our windows.

Spring seems far away right about now, but we can still use our words and photos to appreciate wildflowers.

To keep up in the spirit of searching for wild herbs and wild flowers, each Friday we’ll publish an excerpt from the classic book, The Voice of Flowers by Mrs. L. H. Sigourney.

The Voice of Flowers 7th. ed. 1848
The Voice of Flowers 1848

The Voice of Flowers was first published in 1845 and I’m lucky enough to have in my possession a small, 4.5 by 3 inches, hard-bound book that was my great-great-grandfather’s. It’s the 7th edition published in 1848 by H. S. Parsons and Co., Hartford, Connecticut.

The Index gives title to 43 poems written by Mrs. Sigourney in the pre-Civil War era. In the 1840s vast changes were happening in America. The Mexican-American war gave control of Texas and parts of California, Arizona and New Mexico to the United States. Florida, Wisconsin and Iowa were admitted as States of the Union. The borders between Canada and the U.S. were decided. The California Gold Rush began and wagon trains headed West.

During this time of radical change some Americans stayed in the East and put down their roots. Mrs. Sigourney, (Lydia Huntley Sigourney September 1, 1791 – June 10, 1865), was born and lived in Connecticut.

Lydia Sigourney c. 1860

She wrote poetry at first for pleasure and later her writing became an occupation. Her writings touch on the way a lady of the Victorian times should act and present herself and she wrote scores of books and hundreds of articles.

Mrs. Sigourney’s The Voice of Flowers probably stems from the times she found herself in. During the Victorian Era women were to be seen and not heard, instead fulfilling roles as the help-meet for their man.

Real gender specific.

Society dictated that a woman’s place was in the home and part of making a nice home was to have beautiful gardens and to grow flowers for bouquets and nose-gays. Mrs. Sigourney shares her flower appreciation with us in her little book of poems.

Alas, we’ll keep looking toward Spring and we look forward to our Flower Poetry Fridays with Mrs. Sigourney. I’ll be posting a new poem each week from her The Voice Of Flowers.