Antique Victorian Poetry Language of Flowers Book Kirtland Flower Game Sentiment Virtue of Flowers.
This antique book on the Poetry and Language of Flowers is by the famous author Mrs. C. M. Kirtland. Her books are some of the most coveted to acquire, and this one is just chock full of all things Victorians held dear with regard to the symbolism and virtues represented by all flowers. Included also are sweet prose by authors such as Tennyson, Shakespeare, Sir Walter Scott and more. Victorian ladies and gentlemen were well versed with the meanings of flowers, as it conveyed a secret language between them when courting and in love.
There are a couple very sweet sections that might be of special interest--one is called "Flower Dialogues"--for instance, if you wanted to say "I share your sentiments", you would offer one a garden daisy--or if you wanted to communicate that someone was boastful, you'd offer a hydrangea. Of course, the red rose was the symbol for "True Love", the white lilac for "Innocent Love", and the yellow rose for "Jealousy". Violets meant "Faithfulness", and the little pansy face conveyed someone was "Thinking of You".
A section has the "Flower Game"--and proceeds to instruct: "Have a large bouquet ready; let each person draw from it a flower, and the meaning attached to it will typify the future consort's character--Say your bouquet for Spring consists of violets, hawthorne, primroses, daisies, Heartsease, daffodils--then the characters would be modest, playful, mournful, simple/candid, an early riser, kind/charitable/thoughtful, hopeful, or daring"--and it goes on to instruct what a Summer bouquet would require and its sentiments that would be conveyed.
"Flower Modifications" gave more instruction on the secrets between giver and recipient:
"If a flower be given reversed, its original signification is understood to be contradicted, and the opposite meaning is implied. " Therefore, if a rose was given stem first, it conveyed that the person giving it was not in love with the recipient.
"Yes" is implied by touching the flower given with the lips.
"No" by pinching off a petal, and casting it away.
This book is dated 1884, an early version. The inside pages are clean and tight. The pages are a heavier stock have a nice patina. Each page's text is found within a red border cartouche, and the pages are brightly gilt tipped. The hardbound green hued cover has the title gilt imprinted, and the same on the spine, with clover and flowers recessed into the cover boards with further ink imprinting. Printed and bound by Belford, Clarke, and Company, it has 550 pages. It was most likely a cabinet book, as the inside flower patterned hinge papers are in wonderful shape, and the pages appear to have never been handled at all. Previous owner's name penciled in on the front flyleaf page. This book measures aprox 5 x 7.5 inches and is in Near Fine condition, with minimal wear to the cover boards and corners, and minimal page wear/flaws. Every lady should have one of these for the library, and it's definitely a superb conversation book.
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