As Marie-Antoinette‘s protégé, L’Abbé Delille (1738-1813) finds inspiration for his poetry in romantic gardens and flower bouquets. His first muse: Nature. Nicknamed the “French Virgile” because of his pastoral tastes, he perfumes the French court with multicoloured and multi-scented images.
“The softness of spring arrives, and brings back,
Birds, zephyrs, and flowers, and my voice.
For which new subject must I play my lyre?
Ah! When the earth wakes from a long mourning and finally breathes,
In fields, in woods, and surrounding hills,
When everything smells of happiness, hope and love,
When another opens the splendours of glory to famous names;
On a deadly chariot where victory is placed;
That Astraea’s cup drenches his hands in blood:
Flora has smiled; my voice will sing the gardens.
I would say how art, in fresh landscapes,
Directs water, flowers, lawns, and shades.”
Abbé Delille, Les Jardins, 1782.