A Child's Garden, from "Picture Poesies"

Various artists/makers

Not on view

Houghton's image of children planting a flowering bulb, first appeared in "Home Thoughts and Home Scenes" (1865), engraved by the Dalziel Brothers and published by Routledge. This impression was reissued in "Picture Poesies" (1874) and illustrates a poem by Dora Greenwell. At left, a girl leans on a spade, another kneels at right, and two boys either push the plant into the ground or hold an empty flower pot. The scholar Forrest Reid has pointed to unsettling elements in Houghton's images of children in "Home Thoughts and Home Scenes." Works that at first glance seem to celebrate middle class domesticity often contain bizarre or disturbing details that point to darker levels of the human psyche as revealed in the play of children.

A Child's Garden

Seek in the hill, and seek in the vale
For foxglove, and broom, and heather;
Seek in the woods for the primrose pale,
Seek for the hyacinths, dim and frail,
And plant them all close together.
Flowers that are bold, and flowers that are shy;
The drooping bell, and the starry eye
That looks bright in the cloudiest weather.
And fling in all seeds that twine and that trail,
To bind them sale together;
Then plant the sunflower and lily tall,
Tulip and crown imperial;
With a blossomed rose for the heart of June
Set in the midst of all, and say
A charm to make them come up as soon
As the mustard and cress that were sown last May,
And be all in bloom together!
Emblem of youth's warm heart, thick sown
With blooms tht need fear no weather
With winged dreams, and hopes half-blown,
With flowers that love to bloom alone,
And flowers that bloom together!

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