Linnaeus fell on his knees and wept for joy when he saw for the first time the long heath of some English upland made yellow with the tawny aromatic blossoms of the common furze, and I know that for me, to whom flowers are part of desire, there are tears waiting in the petals of some rose. It has always been so with me from my boyhood. There is not a single colour hidden away in the chalice of a flower, or the curve of a shell, to which by some subtle sympathy with the very soul of things, my nature does not answer.
Oscar Wilde, from De Profundis
This quotation is taken from a letter, written with love when the author was in the deepest misery. An excerpt can be found in Project Gutenberg, with the explanation that later, fuller versions of De Profundis (usually translated ‘From the depths’) are still in copyright in the US.
If you like this quote, try to get hold of the full 80 page version, which is usually included with his complete works in the UK. It has insights into sorrow, nature, fame, art and writing. I first read it in my teens – many quotes and ideas have resonated with me ever since.
I’m adding contact information for two free resources that culture buffs will enjoy:
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Eagle-eyed readers may spot that I used text from ‘The Complete Works of Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde’, published by Collins, rather than the Project Gutenberg version.