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Compleat Lifte of all the Species and Varieties known
Ellustrated with Wood Engravings.
LONDON A. D. 1884.
And to be Solde by BARRE & SONNE, over in KING STRETE (No. 12 & 13),
THE DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE (ILLUSTRATED) OF ALL THE WILD
N that ponderous old tome called Hale's "Eden " or a "Compleat Body of Gardening," published by Sir John Hill in the year 1757, there is on plate 42 a very fair portrait of the "Poetick Daffodil " (N. poeticus). Of this plant we are informed that "The garden does not afford in its kind a prettier plant than this; nor do we know one that has been so early or so honorably mentioned by all Kinds of Writers." "This," as Sir John informs us, "is the Narcissus celebrated in Greek and Roman verse, the vapɣioσos VTVоOS; the fragrant Daffodil of THEOCRITUS; the first Flower he has placed in his 'Europa's Garland,' this the vapxuσos of Theophrastus, which he describes with the naked stalk and Asphodel Leaf, but broader; this the rosy-bottom'd Daffodil which they say reflected its bright Image in the clear Streams of their favourite Rivers."
There will always be doubts as to what particular species some of the early writers and poets of Greece and Italy really alluded to under the above names, but we had better rest satisfied with a beautiful tradition, especially as it may possibly be true, and cannot be proved to be false, so misty and obscure is the mirage as now seen over the stretch of time.
Turner, who wrote his famous Herbal yclept "The names of Herbes in Greke, Latin, English, Duch, and Frenche, wyth the commune names that Herbaries and Apotecaries yse," in 1548, tells us therein that "Narcissus is of diuerse sortes. There is one wyth a whyte floure which groweth pleteously in my Lorde's Gardine in Syon, and it is called of diuerse whyte Lans tibi; it may be called also whyte Daffodyl. Plenie maketh mention of a kynde called Narcissus herbaceus, which is, after my judgement, our yellowe Daffodyl." Of the "yellowe" Daffodil there can be no doubt, but the question yet remains as to whether Turner's "whyte Lans tibi " was N. poeticus, or whether, as others think, it was Narcissus cernuus, or N. biflorus! Lobel alluded to Narcissi as far back as 1570, and I have now before me a fine copy of Clusius' "Rariorum Stirpium Historiæ," published at Antwerp in 1576, in which he describes and figures several well-known species. Of the six or eight kinds mentioned by Clusius at p. 245 of his "Second Book," we at least know four, of which characteristic wood-cut figures are given. These are "N. flore multiplici" (or "Double Roman" of Modern gardens); "N. totus albus prior" is the "Paper White " as sold in our seed shops to-day; "N. juncifolius prior is really N. jonquilla; and "N. autumnalis minor" is N. serotinus, an Algerian