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From: "Alice Turner" <akt@ibm.net>
Subject: (urth) Flowers
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1999 23:27:27 

Apologies if this and the next one get repeated. I sent them both yesterday,
but, as Ranjit has cause to know, my newish ISP seems temperamentally
allergic to the urth list, and they seem never to have arrived.
Roy has been so inspirational! Looking at his essay, I began to wonder if
this little herb garden on the House Absolute grounds might be the relic of
a Shakespeare garden, though of course no one would recognize it as such.
(The non-gardeners among you should know that Shakespeare gardens are a
great favorite with literate sentimental gardeners--I would have one if I
had more room and more sun.) Most of you probably think of Ophelia, or
perhaps of Titania's bower---and "Love's Labour's Lost" has a very pretty
garden song--but actually the great Shakespearean garden scene is Act IV
Scene 4 of "The Winter's Tale," when we first meet Perdita, the young
princess who has been brought up, all unknowing, as a shepherd's daughter.
Perdita ("lost girl") has rosemary, rue and mint in her garden, together
with daisies and many other flowers. But no angelica and no basil. Hmm, I
though, let's have a look at these plants.

> Near the bench where they are sitting in a long-forgotten garden
> are a few beds of simple flowers and herbs--"rosemary, angelica, mint,
> basil, and rue", meaning, respectively, "remembrance", "inspiration",
> "virtue", "hatred (or "give me your good wishes")", and "disdain". [N1]

Angelica (also dwarf gentian) is an aromatic herb, white, greenish or
purple, a good fish flavoring, not unlike celery. This could be savory, a
rather vague term that applies to several species of plants. Or it could be
marjoram. Or even fennel. Perdita has them all in her garden. All are far
more familiar to the cook (that's me) than angelica. It used to be candied,
apparently, several centuries ago--it certainly goes back to Shakespeare's

Basil: This is a toughie. By name it goes back to the 15th c. (OED), well
before Shakespeare. Why wouldn't he mention it? Well, it was somewhat
loosely used for some forms of thyme, and vice versa. That could be it.

(I realize I am opening myself to attack by Borski. but it's too interesting
not to pursue.)

Okay, I leave you with this. At the beginning of the act, 15-year-old
Perdita, whom we have just met, surrounded by shepherdesses and Autolycus
(king of thieves, yes, you Xenites, the very one), greet not only Prince
Florizel but a lord of the court at the occasion of the spring


                          You're welcome, sir.
Give me those flowers there, Dorcas. Reverend sirs,
For you there's rosemary and rue; these keep
Seeming and savour all the winter long.
Grace and remembrance be to you both,
And welcome to our shearing!

Roses to all of you (that's from me, not Perdita),


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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