Catholic CornucopiadCheney

Letter E

The Catholic Language of Flowers


(Sambucus: Nat. Order, Caprifoliaceæ)

What is more amiable than a child who yields her own will to the wishes of her superiors, as willingly as the Elder bows its docile branches to the hand that holds them! She will be beloved by all, and her life, free from care, will be crowned with every blessing.


(Ulmus: Nat. Order, Ulmaceæ)

Proud Elm, that towerest above the other forest-trees, thou art emblematic of those great spirits whose genius raises them above the rest of men. But as thy elevation exposes thee to the lightning’s shaft, so does the height to which they attain, expose them to the blighting arrows of envy, and the still more fatal stroke of pride; and unless they keep their eyes fixed on Heaven, they will surely fall.

Eschscholtzia,—Desire of Riches

(Eschscholtzia: Nat. Order, Papaveraceæ)

The golden Eschscholtzia, a native of California, bears us away in thought to that far distant land, whither so many hundreds, filled with a desire of wealth and fortune, have hastened. Alas! how many have found there only disappointment and a grave!


(Eugenia: Nat. Order, Myrtaceæ)

How I love the touching beauty of the Eugenia, which seems to speak to me of the compassion which we should entertain for the poor! Its sweet flowers and dark green leaves refresh the inhabitants of the burning clime in which it blooms, and it rewards with a new stream of fragrance, the gleesome child who kindly spares it an untimely death.
    Should the recipients of our bounty withhold from us the meed of their gratitude, we should not, for that reason, refuse to aid them in their necessities, calling to mind the infinite charity that redeemed us, and remembering that God Himself will be our eternal reward.

Euphorbia,—The Advantages of Adversity

(Euphorbia: Nat. Order, Euphorbiaceæ)

History informs us that after the overthrow and death of Juba, king of Numidia, his young son was led captive to Rome, to grace the conqueror’s triumph. But Cæsar, who was too generous to neglect the son of his dead adversary, afforded the young Juba the advantages of an excellent education; in consequence of which the captive prince became one of the most learned men of his time, and considerably distinguished himself as an author. By his gentle and courteous manners, he gained the hearts of the Romans; and being afterwards restored by Augustus to his kingdom, he governed with a wisdom and clemency that endeared him to all his subjects. Still preserving the tastes which he had acquired in the days of his captivity, he spent his leisure hours in literary pursuits, and wrote a treatise on the properties of the Euphorbia, a plant which he is said to have named in honour of Euphorbus, his favourite physician.

Euphrasia,—Consecration to God

(Euphrasia: Nat. Order, Scrophularineæ)

A beautiful legend tells of a young and lovely child who, having accompanied her pious mother to visit a convent, resolved, as she was in the house of God, never to quit it. This resolution, neither the tears nor oft-repeated entreaties of her fond mother, could induce her to break; but, clasping her little arms round a crucifix, she promised Jesus never to leave Him.
    Beneath the shadow of the cross, the angelic Euphrasia dwelt, like the fair flower which bears her name, infusing joy and happiness into the hearts of all around her; and yielding up her pure spirit, after a life spent in His service, she went with joy to receive from the hands of Jesus, her Spouse and her King, the virgin’s spotless crown.

Evening Primrose,—Sympathy

(Œnothera: Nat. Order, Onagraceæ)

When the sun has disappeared below the horizon, the Evening Primrose opens her corolla to receive the dew-drops of heaven, like sympathy, which lovingly receives the drops that overflow from the cup of misfortune, and, expanding its heart in the dark hours of affliction, loves to raise the mourner’s drooping head, and breathe new courage into the desponding soul.


(Gnaphalium: Nat. Order, Compositæ)

Other flowers fade and die, and when the summer’s sun has set, and autumn’s withering hand is laid upon the bright gardens, their petals lie unheeded on the ground: they bloom but for a time, and when their brief reign. is over, they fall to rise no more. The Everlasting alone remains, surviving even the winter’s blast: true emblem of virtue, which alone, of all our treasures here on earth, is eternal. All other things pass and perish, but virtue lives for ever.