“Two boys sitting in a garden,” Orange, New Jersey, ca. 1860, cropped from a stereoscopic view, via Robert Dennis Collection of the New York Public Library.
The boys look a little as if they were sharing a secret joke.
They may have just been working in a garden plot of their own; there’s a cultivated space with a low rustic border on the lower right side. The boy on the right — with lilacs in his hat — is sitting in a small wheelbarrow, and there’s a child-size shovel or spade beside him. The other boy has a bunch of lilacs in his hand.
Lilacs, . . .
You are brighter than apples,
Sweeter than tulips,
You are the great flood of our souls
Bursting above the leaf-shapes of our hearts,
You are the smell of all Summers,
The love of wives and children,
The recollection of gardens of little children . . .
— Amy Lowell, from “Lilacs“
Paul and Henri at Cornusson, Parisot Commune, in the Pyrenees, France, ca. 1870, by Eugène Trutat, via the Bibliothèque de Toulouse Commons on flickr.
As from the house your mother sees
You playing round the garden trees,
So you may see, if you will look
Through the windows of this book,
Another child, far, far away,
And in another garden, play.
But do not think you can at all,
By knocking on the window, call
That child to hear you. He intent
Is all on his play-business bent.
He does not hear; he will not look,
Nor yet be lured out of this book.
For, long ago, the truth to say,
He has grown up and gone away,
And it is but a child of air
That lingers in the garden there.