Friday 2 December 2011

Nature full of grace

For reasons of space, the following had to be omitted from our recent "Gardens" issue of Second Spring. Meanwhile readers who enjoyed that issue may like Jane Mossendew's blog Gardening with God.

An Early Kalendar of English Flowers

The Snowdrop in purest white arraie
First rears her hedde on Candlemas daie;
While the Crocus hastens to the shrine
Of Primrose lone on St Valentine.
Then comes the Daffodil beside
Our Ladye’s Smock at our Ladye-tide.
Aboute St George, when blue is worn,
The blue Harebells the fields adorn;
Against the day of Holie Cross,
The Crowfoot gilds the flowerie grasse.

When St Barnabie bright smiles night and daie,
Poor Raged Robin blossoms in the haie.
The Scarlet Lychnis, the garden’s pride,
Flames at St John the Baptist’s tide.
From Visitation to St Swithin’s showers,
The Lilie White reigns Queen of the floures;
And Poppies a sanguine mantle spred
For the blood of the Dragon St Margaret shed.
Then under the wanton Rose, agen,
That blushes for Penitent Magdalen,
Till Lammais daie, called August’s Wheel,
When the long corn stinks of Camamile.
When Mary left us here below,
The Virgin’s Bower is full in blow;
And yet anon, the full Sunflower blew,
And became a Starre for Bartholomew.
The Passion-floure long has blowed,
To betoken us signs of the Holy Roode.
The Michaelmas Daisies, among dede weeds,
Blooms for St Michael’s valourous deeds;
And seems the last of flowers that stode,
Till the feste of St Simon and St Jude –
Save Mushrooms, and the Fungus race,
That grow till All-Hallow-tide takes place.
Soon the evergreen Laurel alone is greene,
When Catherine crownes all leaned menne.
The Ivie and Holly Berries are seen,
And Yule Log and Wassails come round agen.

Anon., cited in Gladys Taylor, Saints and Their Flowers (Mowbray, 1956), 51-2.

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