“Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day:
it was the nightingale, and not the lark,
that pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear;
nightly she sings on yon pomegranate-tree:
believe me, love, it was the nightingale.”
~ Juliet, Romeo & Juliet III.v
“Why should we, in the compass of a pale,
keep law, and form, and due proportion,
showing, as in a model, our firm estate,
when our sea-walled garden, the whole land,
is full of weeds, her fairest flowers choked up,
her fruit-trees all unpruned, her hedges ruin’d,
her knots disorder’d, and her wholesome herbs
swarming with caterpillars?”
~ Servant, King Richard II III.iv
“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance: pray, love, remember … and there is for pansies, that’s for thoughts.”
~ Ophelia, Hamlet IV.v
from SHAKESPEARE’S FLOWERS
(SF: Chronicle Books, 1994)
Commentary: This lovely little book reproduces selections from Shakespeare’s plays that meditate on flowers alongside pictures of flowers taken from manuscripts and early printed books.
In the selections above, Juliet asks her lover not to leave her and mentions the pomegranate tree, a servant notes how weeds have choked up a sea-walled garden, and Ophelia, with rosemary and pansies in her hands, reminds us to remember and to think in the midst of everything.
My favorite flower is the sunflower because she always turns her face toward the sun … follows that great light across the sky all day … and then waits through the night for dawn to come.
*What is your favorite flower? Why? Do you know of a poem that makes reference to your favorite flower in a beautiful way?