“….Here’s flowers for you;
Hot lavender, mints, savoury, marjoram;
The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ the sun
And with him rises weeping: these are flowers
Of middle summer, and I think they are given
To men of middle age. You’re very welcome.”
Tips for Use. In Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets flowers are either described as such or usually associated to or compared to ladies. This is a notable exception.If you are a middle age man this would be a reply to the question, (however unlikely), ‘What kind of flowers do you like?’
The flowers in these lines are all familiar – a bit less perhaps is savoury. That is actually Satureja Hortensis or Summer Savory, an annual plant with narrow green leaves and spikes of white or pink flowers in summer. Should you look into it further you would find that the delicate spice of Summer Savory has made it a favorite in kitchens, especially when teamed with early crops of green beans and new potatoes. Not only, but dried savory excels when combined with rosemary, thyme, lavender, and bay leaf, the basic foundation for Herbes de Provence, to which other herbs, such as marjoram, basil, and fennel are added. Perdita’s character in the play along with the Herbes de Provence suggest a match with Monet’s painting, Jeune Fille dans le Jardin de Giverny. Though, to be geographically accurate, Giverny is in Normandy.
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In the play. Camillo, just arrived in Bohemia meets with the shepherdess Perdita (alias daughter of Leontes, king of Sicilia). Perdita in kindness offers flowers to him – clearly a middle aged man. Camillo proves quite the romantic and replies with a pointed compliment,
“I should leave grazing, were I of your flock,
And only live by gazing.”
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