Fkom the paleness of its hue, and its growing in groves and in shady situations, the primrose is generally, in poetry, invested with a mournful character. We are inclined, however, to think this somewhat unfair. In the language of flowers, it is made emblematic of early youth, which seems much more appropriate. It is among the first of the flowers of spring, and, as such, is certainly not suggestive of mournful associations. Its delicate colour, and form, and fragrance, have made it a special favourite in our own land; and we feel assured that,
" Long as there's a snn to set, Primroses shall have their glory."
The primrose, above all other flowers, except perhaps the daisy, recalls forcibly the days of our childhood; those gladsome days when, in the early spring, ere yet the sun of summer had warmed into life the myriads of lovely floral gems that deck the meadow, we tottered forth by the bubbling brook, or through the shady groves, and hailed the first appearance of the cowslips and the scented violets, while with eager hand we clutched the beautiful tufts of primroses, and pressed them to our throbbing breast:
" Glad to be free—to roam about at will; To range the meadow, and to scale the hill; To pluck the flowers of spring beneath the trees, Or race, in wanton gladness, with the breeze."
The botanic name of this flower is derived from the Latin word primus, first, prime, or early; and hence the name prime-rose, or primrose. In accordance with the mournful character above alluded to, Milton says,—
"Bring the rathe primrose, that forsaken dies."
And Shakspeare, in " Winter's Tale," speaks of
-" Pale primroses,
That die unmarried, ere they can behold Bright Phoebus in his strength."
Nevertheless, although it may appear presumptuous to differ from such high authorities, we think it is not too much to say that the generality of flower-loving mankind regard primroses with very different and much more agreeable feelings and associations.