The whole couplet structurally emulates the sixth of the "Nineteen Old Poems": "I trekked across the river to collect lotus; in the thoroughwort
marsh, fragrant herbs grew in bounty" (24) Zhu Xi replaces "fragrant herbs" with "secluded thoroughwort
," the flower worn by the protagonist in Lisao as symbol of his unappreciated virtue.
This stillness, solitude, wildness of nature is a kind of thoroughwort
, or boneset, to my intellect.
The prevailing conspicuous flowers at present [August 21] are the early golden-rods, tansy, the life-everlastings, fleabane (though not for its flower), yarrow (rather dry), hard-hack and meadow-sweet (both getting dry), also Mayweed, purple eupatorium, clethra, rhexia, thoroughwort
, Polygala sanguinea, prunella and dogsbane (getting stale), touch-me-not (less observed), Canada snapdragon by roadsides, purple gerardia, horsemint, marsh speedwell, tall crowfoot (still in flower), also the epilobium and cow-wheat.