The Language of Flowers
Lovers of flowering plants and shrubs we have had by scores, but Tao Yüan-ming alone devoted himself to the chrysanthemum. Since the opening days of the Tang dynasty, it has been fashionable to admire the peony; but my favorite is the water-lily. How stainless it rises from its slimy bed! How modestly it reposes on the clear pool – an emblem of purity and truth! Symmetrically perfect, its subtle perfume is wafted far and wide, while there it rests in spotless state, something to be regarded reverently from a distance, and not be profaned by familiar approach.
In my opinion, the chrysanthemum is the flower of retirement and culture; the peony, the flower of rank and wealth; the water-lily, the Lady Virtue sans pareille.
Alas; few have loved the chrysanthemum since Tao Yüan-ming; and none now love the water-lily like myself; whereas the peony is a general favourite with all mankind.
（Herbert A. Giles 译）