Easter Flowers, Illustrated Victorian Poem for Easter Time

What happens to the floral decorations after the celebrations are over? Why not draw inspiration after this charming children’s poem and take them to a senior center or hospital where they may provide much needed cheer. You may also find the floral symbolism in Easter Flowers to be of interest, and may also refer to this article for more information about flower meanings.

This Easter poem was published in Harper’s Young People, March 27, 1888. Illustrated with the original cover illustration, “Easter Flowers”, drawn by Jessie Shepherd that you can use as clip art.

Easter Flowers Lilies Victorian Illustration

Girl whispers to the Easter lilies in this Victorian illustration for the poem "Easter Flowers". Click on the image for a larger version that you may use as free Easter clip art.

Easter Flowers

By Mary B. Waterman

“We are going to church,” smiled the lily;
“We are going to church,” smiled the rose;
“Then I certainly think,” said the pert little pink,
“We should wear our prettiest clothes.

“So, heliotrope, put on your lilac;
And, crocus, your bright yellow vest;
Sweet violets, you must wear bonnets of blue,
While the rose shall in crimson be dressed.

“Our lily shall don her white satin,
And in white, too, the calla be seen,
While the hyacinth fair shall wear pink in her hair,
And the smilax have ribbons of green.”

The passion-flower tremblingly whispered,
With eyes looking tearful and sad,
“For me there’s no room: I speak only of gloom;
In garments of grief I am clad.”

Then the bright Easter lily looked upward,
While her smile the whole garden illumed.
“Oh, dear little sister, there ne’er had been Easter
If passion-flowers never had bloomed.”

The church bells were joyfully ringing
When out of the garden they passed,
And down through the porch and into the church,
Till they came to the altar at last.

They climbed over archway and pillar,
They nestled in baskets of moss;
The rose found a place in a beautiful vase,
And the passion-flower clung to a cross.

And they swayed to the breeze of the organ,
That sent its great throb through the air;
When “Laudamus” was sung all their censers they swung,
And they nodded “Amen” to each prayer.

They smiled in response to the children,
So like them in innocent grace.
When the sermon was reached and the minister preached,
They all looked him straight in the face.

“Oh my people,” he said, speaking softly,
Looking down on the listening throng,
“On this day of all days it is meet we give praise,
With offerings of flowers and glad song.

“But desolate homes are around us,
Where dwell the distressed and forlorn,
Their carol a strain full of discord and pain,
Their lily of Easter a thorn.

“Go forth, O beloved, and find them,
Your hearts with pure love all aglow;
E’en the lowliest flower that fades in an hour
The Lord’s resurrection may show.”

The great congregation departed;
The flowers looked around in surprise.
“And must we stay here?” said the rose, while a tear
bedimmed yellow daffodil’s eyes.

“I think we’ve a message to carry,”
Was the heliotrope’s gentle reply.
“But how can we know to what places to go?”
Said the gay little pink, with a sigh.

A flutter, a rustle, a whisper,
A step light and fleet as a fawn,
And, behold! standing close by the royal red rose
Was a child with a face like the dawn.

The flowers are first cousins to children,
The angels to both are akin,
And without spoken word all the bright blossoms heard
Where the dear little maiden had been.

She told them a wonderful secret.
They blushed with exquisite delight;
With tremulous haste down the long aisle they passed,
Until they were lost to the sight.

The heliotrope found a dark cellar,
A home of grim want and despair;
The white pink was led to a hospital bed,
And a rose climbed a rickety stair.

The daffodil followed a beggar;
By its side the hyacinth pressed;
The violets crept where a dear baby slept,
And laid themselves down on its breast.

The passion-flower caught on its purple
The tears which an erring one shed;
In a dark, shrouded room Easter lilies bloom
Waved their banner of hope o’er the dead.

A dream of the fancy you call it?
Some dreams have a touch that’s divine;
And a child’s simple act may turn fancy to fact
In fulfilling his vision of mine.

Dog Health Diet and Exercise Advice from a Victorian Era Magazine

Note: This article on dog health appeared in the May 4th, 1895 issue of Home Chat, “A Weekly Magazine for the Home” published in London. The advice given is provided for historic purposes; for example, feeding dogs bones depends on the breed, and this article does not differentiate between large and small dogs although it does mention that cutlet bones should not be fed. This article is provided for historic and general informational purposes and as an example of Victorian era dog health advice, although I think we can agree that overfeeding a dog is still not a very wise thing to do.

Victorian lady walking her poodle

Original illustration of a Victorian lady walking her toy poodle that accompanied this article on The Dog in the May 4th, 1895 issue of Home Chat magazine. Click on the thumbnail for a larger version that can be used as free dog clip art.

The Dog

Daily exercise is most essential to the health and good condition of our four-legged friends.  Without sufficient exercise a dog’s digestion is soon impaired, and many complications are liable to arise therefrom. It is not absolutely necessary to take the animal for a long walk, because when a dog is given his or her liberty, and is accompanied by its owner for a short stroll, it in its gambols backwards and forward, covers, in all probability, many more times the actual distance that we ourselves have walked. Thus, by the animal’s attendant only having gone, say, a mile, the dog itself has perhaps journeyed some five or six. Any how, whether taken for a regular constitutional or not, always allow your dog to have at least half an hour’s daily exercise at full liberty.

It is a commonly accepted theory that a dog’s digestion takes twenty-four hours, and it will undoubtedly be found—especially if the animal is more or less closely confined—that provided a thorough good meal is given to him in the afternoon of one day, he will often refuse to eat anything the following morning.

We much prefer, however, giving two meals a day— in the early morning and again in the evening, say at six o’clock. In the morning ground oats and middlings (“sharps”), half and half, mixed with boiling milk and water, is excellent, to which may also with advantage be added some soaked and broken dog-biscuits.

In the evening give dog-biscuits unsoaked, and if the animal can manage to break them himself they are best given whole, but many small dogs require the biscuits to be broken up for them. At this meal a few scraps of meat and bones may also be added to the bill-of-fare, but never feed a dog principally upon meat.

The effect of a meat diet exclusively is to cause mange, eczema, and other diseases, and even if only what may be termed a rather liberal amount of meat is given in the case of a house dog, the breath of the animal will become very offensive. Nevertheless, bones should always be given once or twice a week. By the gnawing of bones the dog is enabled to clean its teeth; besides, the consumption of a certain quantity of bones is most beneficial to its health.

Small bones, especially cutlet bones, should not be employed, as these are sometimes liable to choke the animal. Large bones, with just sufficient meat on to tempt him to devour them, are the best, and if too large for him to eventually consume, they should be broken up with a hammer.

Dogs are not often wilfully ill-treated, for with the advance of civilisation, real, downright cruelty to dumb creatures is fast disappearing from amongst us. But unfortunately many (especially ladies) are apt to go to the other extreme, and by their mistaken kindness to inflict a large amount of suffering on those very creatures that they would do almost anything for, could they thereby prevent them from feeling pain.

A dog should never be fed more than twice a day. To be continually giving tit-bits to him, or even, as some do, place a number of appetising and tempting dishes in front of him repeatedly during the day, is a sure way, in the long run, to not only cause the dog to suffer considerably from indigestion, apoplexy, and the like, but also to materially shorten its existence.

We once asked a vet, who was in the habit of receiving a number of dogs that were in ill-health to cure, what was the most frequent complaint from which his patients suffered. His reply was “Simply overfeeding.”

Heirloom Roses Illustrate A Garden Secret (Poem) by Marson

Here is an unusual poem about the secret thoughts of flowers, composed by the Victorian poet Philip Bourke Marston.

I’ve illustrated this Victorian poem with a vintage illustration of heirloom roses  found in antique seed catalog. The line-art is very detailed and these roses are printable as-is, or use as clip art for your next floral/botanical themed project.

At the end of the poem is a biography of Philip Bourke Marson, you’ll discover that his life was quite tragic, which makes this poem about the secret conversations and thoughts of ephemeral flowers to be all the more poignant.

Vintage Illustration of Heirloom Roses from an Antique Seed Catalog

Vintage illustration of heirloom roses from an antique seed catalog that you can use as clip art.

A Garden Secret
(A Flower and a Hand)

I.

Just after Night-fall.

I heard a whisper of roses,
And light white lilies laugh out:
“Ah, sweet, when the evening closes,
And stars come looking about,
How cool and good it is to stand,
Nor fear at all the gathering hand!”

II.

“Would I were red!” cried a white rose.
“Would I were white!” cried a red one.
“No longer the light wind blows;
He went with the dear dead sun.
Here we forever seem to stay,
And yet a sun dies every day.”

III.

A Lily.

“The sun is not dead, but sleeping,
And each day the same sun wakes;
But when stars their watch are keeping,
Then a time of rest he takes.”

Many Roses together.

“How very wise these lilies are!
They must have heard star talk with star!”

IV.

First Rose.

“Pray, the, can you tell us, lilies,
Where slumbers the wind at night,
When the garden all round so still is,
And brimmed with the moon’s pale light?”

A Lily.

“In branches of great trees he rests.”

Second Rose.

“Not so; they are too full of nests.”

V.

First Rose.

“I think he sleeps where the grass is;
He there would have room to lie;
The white moon over him passes;
He wakes with the dawning sky.”

Many Lilies together.

“How very wise these roses seem,
Who think they know, and only dream!”

VI.

First Rose.

“What haps to a gathered flower!”

Second Rose.

“Nay, sister, now who can tell?
One comes not back just one hour,
To say it is ill or well.
I would with such a one confer,
To know what strange things chanced to her.”

VII.

First Rose.

“Hush! hush! now the wind is waking–
Or is it the wind I hear?
My leaves are thrilling and shaking–
Good-by: I am gathered, my dear!
Now, whether for my bliss or woe,
I shall know what the plucked flowers know!”

By Philip Bourke Marston, Harper’s Monthly, 1892

Note: Here is some biographical information about the author that you may find interesting, if not tragic.

Philip Bourke Marston (13 August 1850 – 13 February 1887) was an English poet.

He was born in London. His father, John Westland Marston (1819-1890), wrote verse dramas, and was a friend of Dickens, Macready and Charles Kean. Philip’s godparents were Philip James Bailey and Dinah Mulock. At his father’s house near Chalk Farm he met authors and actors of his father’s generation, and subsequently the Rossettis, Swinburne, Arthur O’Shaughnessy and Henry Irving. In his fourth year, his sight began to decay, and he gradually became almost totally blind.

His mother died in 1870. His fiance, Mary Nesbit, died in 1871; his closest friend, Oliver Madox Brown, in 1874; his sister Cicely, his amanuensis, in 1878; in 1879 his remaining sister, Eleanor, who was followed to the grave after a brief interval by her husband, the poet O’Shaughnessy, and her two children.

In 1882, the death of his chief poetic ally and inspirer, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, was followed closely by that of another kindred spirit, James Thomson (B.V.), who was carried dying from his blind friend’s rooms, where he had sought refuge from his latest miseries early in June of the same year.

It is not surprising that Marston’s verse became sorrowful and melancholy. The idylls of flower-life, such as the early and very beautiful The Rose and the Wind, were succeeded by dreams of sleep and the repose of death. These qualities and gradations of feeling are traceable through his three published collections, Songtide (1871), All in All (1873) and Wind Voices (1883). Marston’s verse was collected in 1892 by Louise Chandler Moulton, a loyal friend, and herself a poet.

In his later years he wrote short stories in Home Chimes and other American magazines, through the agency of Mrs. Chandler Moulton. His popularity in America far exceeded that in his own country.

His health showed signs of collapse from 1883; in January 1887 he lost his voice, and suffered intensely from the failure to make himself understood.

He was commemorated in Gordon Hake’s Blind Boy, and in a sonnet by Swinburne, beginning The days of a man are threescore years and ten. There is an intimate sketch of the blind poet by a friend, Coulson Kernahan, in Sorrow and Song (1894).

Antique Tintype Photograph Illustrates I Once Had a Lover, Hi, Ho!

Antique Tintype Photograph of a Victorain Man

An early slacker? Antique tintype photograph of an extremely casual young Victorian man. Scanned and retouched from my original.

“I Once Had A Lover, Hi, Ho!”

By F. H. Stauffer, Peterson’s Magazine, 1860

I once had a lover, hi, ho!
That’s not very strange, I admit;
I was lovely and young, you know,
A Venus just in her transit!

He came with the Summer, hi, ho!
And knelt at my feet to adore;
He called me a “bird,” and a “star,”
And other sweet things by the score.

Before long I took sick, hi ho!
And the small-pox pitted my face,
My cheeks lost their glow, you know,
And my beauty went off in disgrace.

Soon lost I my lover, hi, ho!
That’s not very strange, I admit;
For beauty is fragile, you know,
And so is the sparkle of wit.

He went with the Summer, hi, ho!
But another came in his stead;
‘Tis my soul that he loves, I know,
And soon you will hear we are wed!

Art Nouveau Dancing Skeleton Illustrates Gothic Victorian Poem

The gentle flowers and creatures of the woods are no match for Death in this Gothic Victorian poem, first published in The Ladies’ Repository, 1857. Art Nouveau illustration of a gleeful, if not sly, dancing representation of death can be used as clip art for edgier craft projects.

Vintage Gothic Dancing Death Illustration

Vintage Dancing Death Illustration From Jugend (Youth), a German publication that featured many famous Art Nouveau artists and was the source of the term "Jugendstil" ("Jugend-style"), the German version of Art Nouveau. Click the image to download a higher resolution version that you can use as clip art.

The People of the Woods

By Carrie Myer

The wind that sways the cedar limbs,
This bright and warm November day,
Is like the summer breeze that skims
O’er tranquil waves—yet seems to say,
November mourns in chilling moods
The buried people of the woods.

When April on her gauzy wings
O’er hill and valley lightly sailed,
There came a few fair, fragile things,
And birds, and bees, and children hailed
Their coming with wild delight,
And vestal stars rejoiced at night.

And when the darker eyes of May
Glanced o’er the ruby walls of morn,
And gleamed upon the golden day,
A brighter, hardier race was born;
To forests lone they came in bands
As numerous as the yellow sands.

Here some were clad in creamy white,
And there in robes of purple hue,
And some with crimson tints were bright,
While others wore the heavenly blue;
And all were glad that overhead
The emerald roof so grandly spread.

All through the glorious summer-time
These gentle people every-where
’Mid Nature’s soft and rudest chime,
Bowed gaily to the loving air–
They danced in gloomy solitudes,
The merry people of the woods.

But one, whose stealthy footfall brings
To human hearts grief, awe, and fear–
The leveler of earthy kings–
Who claims as his the humblest here
Looked in upon their homes of peace,
And said their reveling should cease.

Then day by day their songs of mirth
Bent more and more with sadder tones,
Until the hills that gave them birth,
Re-echoed back but sighs and moans;
October sang in mournful moods,
The stricken people of the woods.

I watched the languid twilight spread
O’er hazy skies her argent wings,
And muse on them, the lovely dead,
So frail amid all fragile things!
With each departing year I sigh,
That thus the beautiful should die.

And now when Mem’ry’s chain unwinds
On quiet eves each silken link,
That to the past my spirit binds,
I pause, and scarcely dare to think–
’Mid shrieking winds and rushing floods,
We’ll miss the people of the woods!

Winter Landscape Clip Art Illustrates It Snows

This has been a relatively uneventful winter this year in Philadelphia; not much snow to speak of, not a snowman in sight. So all I can do is admire images of long-gone winters and enjoy delightful Victorian poems such as It Snows. Illustrated with a free winter landscape clip art image derived from a Victorian scrapbook.

Which of the speakers in this poem calls this quiet snow-bound cottage across the frozen lake home?

Winter Landscape Clip Art from a Victorian Scrapbook showing a snow covered cottage by a frozen lake

Winter Landscape Clip Art from a Victorian Scrapbook

It Snows

It snows! cries the School-boy, “Hurrah! and his shout
Is ringing through parlor and hall,
While swift as the wing of a swallow, he’s out.
And his playmates have answered his call;
It makes the heart leap but to witness their joy;
Proud wealth has no pleasure, I trow,
Like the rapture that throbs in the pulse of the boy,
As he gathers his treasures of snow;
Then lay not the trappings of gold on thine heir,
While health, and the riches of nature, are theirs.

“It snows!” sighs the Imbecile, “Ah!” and his breath
Comes heavy, as clogged with a weight:
While, from the pale aspect of nature in death
He turns to the blaze of his grate;
And nearer and nearer his soft-cushioned chair
Is wheeled toward the life-giving flame;
He dreads a chill puff of the snow-burdened air,
Lest it wither his delicate frame;
Oh! small is the pleasure existence can give,
When the fear we shall die only proves that we live!

“It snows! cries the Traveler, “Ho!” and the word
Has quickened his steed’s lagging pace;
The wind rushes by, but its howl is unheard,
Unfelt the sharp drift in his face;
For bright through the tempest his own home appeared,
Ay, through leagues intervened he can see;
There’s the clear, glowing hearth, and the table prepared,
And his wife with her babes at her knee;
Blest thought! how it lightens the grief-laden hour,
That those we love dearest are safe from its power!

“It snows!” cries the Belle, “Dear, how lucky!” and turns
From her mirror to watch the flakes fall;
Like the first rose of summer, her dimpled cheek burns,
While musing on sleigh-ride and ball:
There are visions of conquests, of splendor, and mirth,
Floating over each drear winter’s day;
But the tintings of Hope, on this storm-beaten earth,
Will melt like the snow-flakes away;
Turn, turn thee to Heaven, fair maiden, for bliss;
That world has a pure fount ne’er opened in this.

It snows!” cries the Widow, “Oh God!” and her sighs
Have stifled the voice of her prayer;
It’s burden you’ll read in her tear-swollen eyes,
On her cheek sunk with fasting and care.
‘Tis night, and her fatherless ask her for bread,
But “He gives the young ravens their food,”
And she trusts, till her dark hearth adds horror to dread,
And she lays on her last chip of wood.
Poor sufferer! that sorrow thy God only knows;
‘Tis a most bitter lot to be poor, when it snows!

Mrs. S. J. Hale, Uncle Herbert’s Speaker, 1886