It has been an old comparison for our urging on - the Beehive; however, it seems to me that we should rather be the flower than the Bee - for it is a false notion that more is gained by receiving than giving - no, the receiver and the giver are equal in their benefits. The flower, I doubt not, receives a fair guerdon from the Bee - its leaves blush deeper in the next spring - and who shall say between man and woman which is the most delighted? Now it is more noble to sit like Jove than to fly like Mercury - let us not therefore go hurrying about and collecting honey, bee-like buzzing here and there impatiently from a knowledge of what is to be aimed at; but let us open our leaves like a flower and be passive and receptive - budding patiently under the eye of Apollo and taking hints from every noble insect that favours us with a visit - sap will be given us for meat and dew for drink. I was led into these thoughts, my dear Reynolds, by the beauty of the morning operating on a sense of Idleness - I have not read any books - the Morning said I was right - I had no idea but of the morning, and the thrush said I was right - seeming to say,
O thou whose face hath felt the Winter's wind,Now I am sensible all this is a mere sophistication (however it may neighbor to any truths), to excuse my own indolence - so I will not deceive myself that man should be equal with Jove - but think himself very well off as a sort of scullion-Mercury, or even a humble Bee.
From a letter to John Hamilton Reynolds