" No flower amid the garden fairer grows, Than the sweet lily of the lowly vale."
Few flowers are so emblematic ot united modesty and sweetness as the lily of the valley, and none are more worthy of our regard; fjr, besides its natural beauty and deliciously delicate perfume, it, or at least the genus to which it belongs, is specially referred to by our Saviour, in the words, " Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow."
Hartwell Home, in his " Introduction to-the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures," says, " In this passage (Matt. vi. 28), Jesus Christ is commonly supposed to have referred to the white lily, or to the tulip; but neither of these grows wild in Palestine. It is natural to presume that, according to his usupI custom, he called the attention of his hearers to some object at hand; and as the fields of the Levant are overrun with the ama-ryllis lutea, whose golden liliaceous flowers, in autumn, afford one of the most brilliant and gorgeous objects in nature, the expression of 4 Solomon, in all his glory, not being arrayed like one of these/ is peculiarly appropriate." As this, however, is merely conjecture, and as Scripture only assures us that the objects referred to were " lilies of the field," we may be pardoned for associating the lowly and sweet-scented lily of the valley with the memorable words of our Saviour.
In the floral language, it signifies the return of happiness; and we believe there are few who would not deem it a great return of happiness to be able, in the words of the poet, to
" Seek the hank where flowering elders crowd; Where, scattered wide, the lily of the vale Its balmy essence breathes; where cowslips hang The dewy head, where purple violets lurk, With all the lovely children of the shades."
Strictly speaking, the lily of the valley has no botanical claim to the title of lily, but the extreme loveliness and purity of her white blossoms have been deemed a sufficient reason for her admission into that fair family. It is worthy of remark that the word lily in Hebrew is expressed by 14 shushan," which signifies light; and that the Persian city Shushan takes its name from a very beautiful species of the lily which grows in rich profusion in its immediate vicinity.