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The Language of Flowers

Lovers of flowering plants and shrubs we have had by scores, but Tao Yuanming alone devoted himself to the chrysanthemum. Since the opening days of the Tang dynasty, it has been fashionable to admire the peony; but my favourite is the water-lily. How stainless it rises from its slimy bed! How modestly it reposes on the clear pool – an emblem of purity and truth! Symmetrically perfect, its subtle perfume is wafted far and wide, while there it rests in spotless state, something to be regarded reverently from a distance, and not be profaned by familiar approach.

水陆草木之花,可爱者甚蕃。晋陶渊明独爱菊;自李唐来,世人盛爱牡丹;予独爱莲之出淤泥而不染,濯清涟而不妖,中通外直,不蔓不枝,香远益清,亭亭静植,可远观而不可亵玩焉。

In my opinion, the chrysanthemum is the flower of retirement and culture; the peony, the flower of rank and wealth; the water-lily, the Lady Virtue sans pareille. Alas; few have loved the chrysanthemum since Tao Yuanming; and none now love the water-lily like myself; whereas the peony is a general favourite with all mankind.

予谓菊,花之隐逸者也;牡丹,花之富贵者也;莲,花之君子者也。噫!菊之爱,陶后鲜有闻;莲之爱,同予者何人?牡丹之爱,宜乎众矣。

Source: toutiao.com

2016-10-30

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