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OUR design in writing the following pages was to supply entertaining and instructive accounts of such plants, indigenous to Britain, as are most generally known and admired; whose names are familiar as household words with thousands who seldom, if ever, had seen them, in their native wilds, and who scarcely knew them when seen.
Many a one doomed to toil for daily bread within close pent cities, reading the name of some fair floweret of the vale, and seeing how it is associated in the mind of his Author with pleasant thoughts and sweet recollections, has loved the flower. To such we purposed to bring a more intimate acquaintance with these bright and cheerful favourites of still merry England.
In hedgerows and in fields our favourites grow;
Where Nature bids her choicest beauties lie.
And from such places have we culled pictured representations of our subjects; and so faithful we conceive them to be, that they who have become acquainted with their features through our volume may recognize the originals as they roam through meadow, grove, or woodland, and knowing, look on them as on old friends, aye, and old friends, too, who never change the manner of their greeting. Fragrant flowers shed their sweetness alike for rich and poor, and the richness of their coloured petals varies as the feelings of those who look on them. How fine, how delicate, the sympathy thus silently expressed; how soothing to the troubled spirit the calm and gentle influence of true Nature!
To render more familiar these scattered treasures; to portray their characters; to point out at what seasons we may look for them in their prime, and in what localities we may find them; and to furnish sure tokens whereby we may really know them when found, was the object of our volume. Poetry derived
from the writings of those well known to fame, when it could be found, was inwoven with the text; and this plan, once adopted, rendered it necessary, where none existed, that some should be written. The necessity of the case compelled the Author very reluctantly to insert compositions of his own, being painfully conscious of their unworthiness to appear in the same pages with those he had selected.
Long before the volume was completed, the Author had the gratification of knowing, from the oral and written testimony of many of the subscribers, that the work had not failed to please; and he rejoiced that his efforts had been so far successful, that many readers perceived new beauties, and acquired new associations, which made their meeting with our favourite Field Flowers more interesting and more joyous; and that they delighted in their rural walks more than before, through his humble labours.
In revising the present edition for the press, many corrections have been made, and some additional matter supplied. There will also be found a few alterations, such as the lapse of time seemed to render necessary.
The enlarged size of the page in this edition gives an increased margin around the groups of flowers, which to the eye of many will, no doubt, improve their appearance.
That the readers of the present volumes may have a large portion of the pleasure he found in writing them, is the sincere desire of