Art for Inspiration: Anna Goeneutte Wearing a Beret by Norbert Goeneutte

“Anna Goeneutte Wearing a Beret” by
Norbert Goeneutte
(1854 - 1894)

“From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again, never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends and there was one for every mood. There was poetry for quiet companionship. There was adventure when she tired of quiet hours. There would be love stories when she came into adolescence and when she wanted to feel a closeness to someone she could read a biography. On that day when she first knew she could read, she made a vow to read one book a day as long as she lived.”
― Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”
― Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

“If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.”
― Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809–82

Art for Inspiration: Coffee in the Garden by Daniel Ridgway Knight

Coffee in the Garden” by Daniel Ridgway Knight (1839 - 1924)

“For pleasure has no relish unless we share it.”
― Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader

“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”
― Khalil Gibran

“Friends are those rare people who ask how we
are and then wait to hear the answer.”
― Ed Cunningham

Public Domain Vintage Poem: In Daisy Days by Mary Elizabeth Blake

"Picking Daisies, 1905" (sometimes also referred to as "Picking Wildflowers")
by German artist Hermann Seeger (1857 - 1945)

Below is a poem called "In Daisy Days," written by Mary Elizabeth Blake. Mrs. Blake's admirers included Theodore Roosevelt and Oliver Wendell Holmes, the latter of whom wrote of her: "You are one of the birds that must sing." "In Daisy Days" was published June 1902 and goes like this:

Suns that sparkle and birds that sing,
Brooks in the meadow rippling over,
Butterflies rising on golden wing
Through the blue air and deep-red clover,
Flower-bells full of sweet anthems rung
Out on the wind in lone woodland ways --
Oh, but the world is fair and young
In daisy days!

Lusty trumpets of burly bees
Full and clear on the sweet air blowing;
Gnarled boughs of the orchard trees
Hidden from sight by young leaves growing.
Scars of the winter hide their pain
Under the grasses' tangled maze,
And youth of the world springs fresh again
In daisy days.

Down in the valley and up the slope
Starry blooms in the wind are bending;
Glad eyes shine like the light of hope,
Comfort and cheer to the dark earth lending.
Buoyant with life they spring and soar
Like the lark that carols his matin lays,
Climbing to gates of heaven once more
In daisy days.

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Signs of Spring at the Oshawa Valley Botanical Garden


In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.
- Mark Twain

Well, yesterday was a wild one, weather wise. Rain, slush, a smattering of snow that I thought was going to turn into hail... Yet somehow, I felt more cheerful than I would have even if I had encountered the same conditions a month and a half ago (when I thought winter would never end).

Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.
- Doug Larson

No kidding, Doug! Isn't spring wonderful? Here are a couple of shots of emerging peony shoots at the Oshawa Valley Botanical Garden that I took last year. I haven't been back there yet to take pictures of them this year because it's been so wet and windy but I think I might just try today. The sun is out and I feel like whistling as I meander down some peony paths...



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Art for Inspiration: A Student of Nature by Linnie Watt

“The beauty of the natural world lies in the details.” - Natalie Angier

The above painting is titled "A Student of Nature” and it was painted in 1877 by Linnie Watt, a British artist who was active from 1874 to 1908. A contemporary art critic of her time, Cosmo Monkhouse, wrote this of Miss Watt's style: "Much that is characteristic of the tender beauty of woodland and meadow she has learnt how to suggest with a simple expressive touch specially suited to her materials and the decorative character of her work. I would have named her amongst the artists of landscape but for her figures, and amongst the figure-painters but for her landscapes. But it is impossible to divorce one from the other, for the figures are not "introduced," but seem to form an organic part of her conceptions." - from The Magazine of Art, Vo. 7, p. 249.

I simply love the luxuriant abandon of wildflowers. Isn't it wonderful when you stumble upon a patch when you are walking along? Here is a spot with a jumbled array of goldenrod and purple loostrife that I came across a couple of summers ago at Rotary Park in Ajax, Ontario.


Do you have a favourite spot to go where wildflowers grow? If you have any pictures, feel free to share in the comments below.

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Public Domain Victorian Poem: An April Song by an Unknown Author


From 1881, here is a Victorian poem called "An April Song" by an unknown author. Accompanying the poem is a decorative border with an illustration of a blossoming tree and various spring flowers plus a scattering of assorted planting paraphernalia in the garden. The poem goes as follows:

Earth's heart with gladness glows again,
Gone is all wintry gloom;
The sun peeps through my lattice-pane,
And fills my little room
With life divine, and bids me fly
My books and pens awhile,
To wander forth beneath a sky
That wears an April smile.

Old loves at every step I meet,
Sweet fragrance fills the air;
Such songs of praise that birds repeat,
As move my soul to prayer.
E'en primrose clusters on the banks,
And violets nesting low,
To Him uplift a look of thanks,
From whom all blessings flow.

The hyacinth hangs her languid head,
And waits the gentle May,
Now drawing near with noiseless tread,
To kiss her tears away;
The fields with daisies are besprent,
As white as flakes of snow;
And from the whispering woods are sent
Joy-murmurs, soft and low.

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Art for Inspiration: A Fairy Tale by Arthur Wardle

"A Fairy Tale" by Arthur Wardle (1860 - 1949)

Wardle's work is meant to illustrate this excerpt from "The Bridal of Triermain," a poem by Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832), which goes:

All seem'd to sleep -- the timid hare
On form, the stag upon his lair,
The eagle in her eyrie fair
Between the earth and the sky.
But what of pictured rich and rare
Could win De Vaux's eye-glance, where,
Deep clumbering in the fatal chair,
He saw King Arthur's child!

Art for Inspiration: Sweet Repose by Valentine Cameron Prinsep

“Sweet Repose, 1885” by Valentine (Val) Cameron Prinsep (1838 - 1924)

“What hath night to do with sleep?”
― John Milton, Paradise Lost

“Before you sleep, read something that is exquisite,
and worth remembering.”
― Erasmus

“Even a soul submerged in sleep is hard at work
and helps make something of the world.”
― Heraclitus, Fragments

Public Domain Victorian Poem: A Spring Morning by Anne Beale


From 1880, here is a Victorian poem on aged paper entitled "A Spring Morning" by Anne Beale. Accompanying the poem is a decorative border with an illustration of flower pickers in early spring gathering flowers in the open fields surrounding a big house. There is also a posy of spring flowers embellishing the foreground. The poem goes as follows:

How joyfully the heart doth ring
A merry peal of pleasure
At the nativity of spring,
And the earth's renewing treasure!
How the thoughts leap up, welcoming
The gladsome vernal measure!

The squirrel, in his wild delight,
From branch to branch is springing;
The warbling lark her homeward flight
In ecstasy is winging;
While every mead and grove and height
With joyous song is ringing.

The snowdrop from her winter rest
Is joyously awaking;
The merry primrose bares her breast,
A fill of pleasure taking;
The violet, from her mossy nest,
In loveliness is breaking.

Wandering 'neath the cloudless sky,
The children shout for gladness,
And deem the sun's enkindling eye
An antidote for sadness;
Then would not murmuring needlessly
Be even worse than madness?

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Public Domain Victorian Poem: Each In His Place by Caris Brooke


A Victorian poem from 1893 by Caris Brooke called "Each In His Place." The verses are accompanied by an illustration of a pair of birds up in their nest, snugly anchored to a branch of flowering apple blossoms. Here is how it goes:

Bird, sitting there in the bright sun's ray,
You do nothing but sing all the summer's day,
While I have my lessons to learn.
Now leave your perch on that blossoming spray,
Give me your wings, and in my place stay,
Till I return.

Oh, to fly so far! Oh, to soar so high!
Till I find the gold door in the bright blue sky,
And the way that leads me to the moon;
Then good-bye to lessons, to sums good-bye,
Don't expect me back when I've learned to fly --
At least not soon.

For answer, the bird's song seemed to say,
"Will you do my work while I am away?
Do you know how to build a nest?
Feathers and wool, and dry moss and hay --
Can you fit them in, and make them stay,
If you did your best?

"You must never leave it to romp and play;
You must sit quite still the whole long day,
And not stir a peg.
And before you go, will you kindly say,
If, while you're there, you'll be sure to lay
A little blue egg?"

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Art for Inspiration: Garden Scenes by Alfonse Van Besten

Blossom and lady, ca. 1913

Ma femme (Mrs. A. Van Besten), 1913

Young girl amidst marguerites, ca. 1912

Van Besten painting in his garden, 1909

A series of photographs from the early 20th century by Belgian artist Alfonse Van Besten (1865 - 1926). Van Besten was a painter and many of his autochromes were taken with a "painterly eye." You can find many more of his autochrome photographs on the Belgian Autochromists website here.

Public Domain Antique Poem: An Open-Air Hymn by Beatrice Hanscom


A poem of thanksgiving for nature's gifts published in July 1904. The decorative border of various flowers was drawn by the artist and illustrator, Henry McMaster. Here is "An Open-Air Hymn" written by Beatrice Hanscom:

Not for rich gifts of gold or gems,
Not for the gauds but few afford,
But for thy sunshine, pure and free,
I thank thee, Lord.

For those deep draughts of air I quaff
When, shoulders squared and blood aglow,
I swing along the country road
Where daisies blow.

And in the sultry noonday heat,
For wayside rest, lulled by the breeze,
As, shaded by the sheltering oak,
I take my ease.

For every winding forest-path,
For every stretch of sedge and sea,
For every pebbly brook that rills
Its song of glee.

For that glad radiance when the sun
His crimson cloud of glory spills,
For every violet mist that veils
The distant hills.

For every bloom the summer brings,
For every sheaf the harvest binds,
For spring's first bud, for winter's snow
And bracing winds,

For these thy gifts -- for earth and sky
Mingling their moods in sweet accord,
For health, and for the seeing eye,
I thank thee, Lord.

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Art for Inspiration: On an Apiary by Aleksandr Makovsky

"On an Apiary, 1916"
by Aleksandr Makovsky (1869 - 1924)

The happiness of the bee and the dolphin is to exist.
For man it is to know that and to wonder at it.
- Jacques Cousteau

It is so small a thing to have enjoyed the sun,
to have lived light in the spring,
to have loved, to have thought, to have done.
- Matthew Arnold

Poetry for Kids: Apple-Tree Hall by Elizabeth Roberts Macdonald (Public Domain Children's Poem)


Here is an antique children's poem of nature and imagination by Elizabeth Roberts Macdonald, published in the October 1910 issue of St. Nicholas Magazine.

APPLE-TREE HALL

There's an old spreading apple-tree, gnarly and wide,
In an orchard (I can't tell you where),
Where Dora and I can curl up side by side,
And nobody know we are there.
We go there on Saturdays, -- that's if it's fine,
And Mother is willing, and all, --
Take our dolls and our dishes, and there we keep house
Till tea-time, in Apple-Tree Hall.

There's the loveliest carpet, all wood-brown and gray,
And the walls have a pattern of green;
The windows are curtained the coziest way
That ever was thought of or seen;
And as for the ceiling, it's blue as the sky;
And we've crimson globe-lamps in the fall --
In the spring we have pink, and in summer use none
(Such a saving!), in Apple-Tree Hall.

All the neighbors are charming, -- so musical, too!
Madam Thrush has a voice like a bird,
And the love-songs she sings (in Italian, I think)
Are the sweetest we ever have heard.
Then the dryads and wood-nymphs dwell close to us, too,
Though they are too bashful to call.
The society really is quite the best
When we're living at Apple-Tree Hall.

Oh, I wish I could tell you one half of our plays,
And the fine things we plan when we're there,
Of the books that we'll write and the deeds that we'll do
In the years that wait, shining and fair.
My mother says, sometimes, -- and so does Aunt Kate, --
That these are the best days of all;
But we think it's just the beginning of fun,
Keeping house here in Apple-Tree Hall!

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Keywords: 1900s, 1910, 20th century, antique, apple tree, dolls, Edwardian, fantasy, garden, girl, illustration, imagination, orchard, outdoor, playtime, poem, poetry, tea party, toys, vintage

Public Domain Victorian Poem: Spring Song by S. F. Flin

"Windflowers, 1903" (sometimes also referred to as "Windswept")
by John William Waterhouse (1849 - 1917)

Below is a Victorian poem by S.F. Flin called "Spring Song" that was originally published in the April 1860 issue of Godey's. I thought it seemed to fit well with the image above.

The Spring is drowsy and numb with cold,
Her hair is sodden and dank with rain,
Her garments are faded and tattered and old,
She never will dance and laugh again.

The robin is trying to make her smile
Sometimes, with a flutter and timid shout;
And there seems a gleam on her cheek awhile,
When through trailing vapor the sun peers out.

But she only opens a dull, blue eye,
And giveth a shuddering sigh of pain;
She has only wakened, alas, to die!
She never will dance and laugh again.

Behold! thou prophet, false and fond --
Who is it tripping adown the dale?
Who is it has sprinkled the hill beyond
With tufts of the liverwort blossom pale?

She has planted cowslips along the brook,
Has wandered the thickets of hazel through,
And into each sly and sunlit nook
She has flung a cluster of violets blue.

She has hung the willow with tassels fine,
She has painted the buds of the hickory,
And the robin is drunk with the draught divine
Of her breath in the blossomy cherry-tree.

Ha! ha! 'tis she, with her sweet, old smile,
Her tresses tossed by the breezy South;
One rosy, silk, soft hand, the while,
Scaring the bees from her honeyed mouth.

Dancing her chaplet above her eyes,
Laughing over the emerald plain --
Ha! ha! I knew she would waken and rise,
Laughing and dancing and singing again.

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All digitized poems by FieldandGarden.com are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Please cite FieldandGarden.com as your source when using this work and/or provide a link back to this page.

Keywords: 1800s, 1860, 19th century, antique, nature poem, public domain poem, poetry, poem of spring, Victorian

Art for Inspiration: Early Spring - Bluebonnets and Mesquite by Julian Onderdonk

"Early Spring - Bluebonnets and Mesquite, 1919" by
Julian Onderdonk (1882 - 1922)

The beautiful spring came;
and when Nature resumes her loveliness,
the human soul is apt to revive also.
- Harriet Ann Jacobs