wildflowers and hot-house plants

"Good heavens, man, what a freak of taste!
What blindness to form and feature!
The girl's no beauty, and might be placed
As a hoydenish kind of creature."

No doubt it were more in the current tone
And the tide today we move in,
If I could but choose me to make my own
A type of our average woman.

Like winter blossoms they all unfold
Their primly maturing glory;
Like pot-grown plants in the tepid mould
Of a window conservatory.

They sleep by rule and by rule they wake,
Each tendril is taught its duties;
Were I worldly-wise, yes, my choice I'd make
From our stock of average beauties.

For worldly wisdom what do I care?
I am sick of its prating mummers;
She breathes of the field and the open air,
And the fragrance of sixteen summers.
Henrik Ibsen, trans. Fydell Edmund Garrett, 1912.

Photo of Molly Ringwald, via banquet.