FLOWERS AND INSECTS, SOME BIRDS AND A PAIR OF SPIDERS, by Ted Hughes (Knopf: $14.95; 61 pp.). Ted Hughes, England's poet laureate, personifies nature's enchantments until it seems that nature itself was designed expressly for the purpose of enthralling British romantic poets. This pretty book includes 17 poems inspired by violets, brambles, the honey bee and so on, accompanied by Leonard Baskin's colorful drawings, which are more pedestrian than Hughes' poems but add to the ooh-ing and aah-ing quality of the nature worship involved. Hughes is certainly a precise and enthusiastic observer: As two spiders mate, he watches breathlessly, "For half an hour, through a magnifying glass . . ." wondering if the female will devour the male. Moment by moment, the drama unfolds. His close observation is admirable, and there are some thrilling lines throughout the poetry, but, overall, the personification Hughes allows himself becomes operatic, too luscious for contemporary tastes. A tortoise-shell butterfly "with his perfumed draughts, spasming his patterns" is lifted to a fairyland of butterflies, beyond most down-to-earth, American belief. Still, this would be a charming Christmas gift for that friend who sighs over sunlight through lace curtains, who appreciates poems of good quality that are, like chocolate truffles, a little gooey to the touch.