From In Praise of Old Gardens (1912), by Vernon Lee.
A GARDEN!—The word is in itself a picture, and what pictures it reveals! All through the days of childhood the garden is our fairy-ground of sweet enchantment and innocent wonder. From the first dawn of thought, when we learned our simple lessons of Eden and its loss, and seemed to see the thornless garden, watered with clear streams, beautiful with spreading trees, and the train of unnamed beasts and birds meekly passing before their spotless lord; and then beyond, far onward to that other garden beloved by the Man of Sorrows, Gethsemane, where we could never picture the blossoming of roses or murmurous hum of summer bees, but only the sombre garden walks, and One kneeling among the olives, and dark, heavy drops upon the grass. And near to this, the garden of the Sepulchre—in a dewy dawnlight, angel-haunted. These were our Gardens of the Soul. In later years the mists of those older, holier spots wear away as snow-wreaths in the vivid brilliance of the Gardens of Poetry. Then, dreamlike, from sapphire seas arose the Gardens of the Hesperides, and we beheld the white-vestured maidens as they danced around the golden-fruited, dragon-guarded tree. Then bloomed for us the gardens of mediaeval Italy. The Poets' garden of cypress and lemon, of marble stairs and sparkling fountains, with all their moonlight mirth and sorrow; ilex-groves of song and silver-threaded laughter; visions of Rimini, or gay Boccaccio's tales. Then did we linger where high-piping nightingales sang to the Persian Rose in the Gulistan of Saädi; felt the pure sunlight shine in a little wilderness of roses, or the green shade that lay round the apple-trees of Andrew Marvell; or in the garden of the Sensitive Plant, we followed the shadowy steps of the Lady, our souls entranced with the love of every flower she loved. They are all beautiful, these Gardens of Poetry! and through the midst of them flows the broad stream of Memory, isled with fair lilied lawns, fringed with willowy forests and whispering reeds. And not less beautiful than these ideal shades are the gardens which live unchanged and unchanging in many a painted picture within the heart. Real, and not less ideal, is the remembrance of gardens we have seen: seen once, it may be, and never since forgotten.