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Hungary and Shakespeare’s Flowers

To commemorate the Hungarian Revolution, we explore Shakespeare's use of flowers in his works.

Annamaria Vass
SR OS 97.7 The herball or Generall historie of plantes. Gathered by Iohn Gerarde of London Master in Chirurgerie

This post was written by our country gardens team leader and appears in both English and Hungarian.

15 March is here. Today Hungarians commemorate the Hungarian Revolution against the Habsburg Empire in 1848 (-1849). On this day our national hero and passionate poet Sandor Petofi read out our 12 Demands. The symbol of the revolution was the flower shaped cockade.

This got me thinking. I learned about Petofi and also read Shakespeare at school. Most people know about Romeo and Juliet or have heard of the famous question: “To be or not to be?” but did you know Shakespeare frequently wrote about flowers?

When I started gardening at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, a whole new world opened up for me. I would have never imagined that I would work in Shakespeare’s wife’s cottage garden thinking about the Hungarian national cockade. Come along and see our flowers – maybe not in tri-colours, but as beautiful as they were 400 years ago.

[…] “here is flowers for you; hot lavender, mint, savory,
The marigold, that goes to bed wi’th’ sun
And with him rises weeping.  These are flowers
Oh middle summer, and I think they are given
To man of middle age.  You`re very welcome.” 

The Winter's Tale, Act 4 Scene 4

“When daffodils begin to peer,
With hey, the doxy over the dale,
Why then comes in the sweet o’the year,
For the red blood reign in the winter’s pale.” 

The Winter's Tale, Act 4 Scene 2

“There’s fennel for you, and columbine”

Hamlet, Act 4 Scene 5

Megerkezett Marcius tizenotodike.  Ez a datum megemlekezik az 1848-as (1849-es) Magyar Forradalom es Szabadsag harcrol a Habsburg Birodalom ellen.  Ezen a napon nemzeti hosunk es szenvedelyes koltonk Petofi Sandor felolvasta a Magyar 12 Pontot (Mit kivan a Magyar Nemzet).  A forradalom szimboluma a viarg formaju kokarda volt.

Ez elgondolkodtatott.  Tanultam Petofit az iskolaban, ugy ahogy olvastam Shakespeare muveit.  Ki ne ismerne ezen a bolygon Romeo es Juliat, vagy a hires kerdest:  “Lenni, vagy nem lenni?”, de tudtad hogy Shakespeare gyakran irt viragokrol?

Amikor kerteszkedni kezdtem a Shakespeare Birthplace Trust-nal [jotekonysagi szervezet, minden ami Shakespeare], egy egesz vilag tarult ki elottem.  Sohasem kepzeltem, hogy Shakespeare felesegenek kertjeben a Magyar Nemzeti Kokardarol fogok elmelkedni. Gyere el megnezni a viragainkat – megha nem is nemzeti harom szinuek, de – olyan szepek mint 400 evvel ezelott voltak.

[…]“Itt viragotok:
Levendula, bors, me`nta, majora`nna,
Az estike, mely a`gyba megy a nappal,
Es vele ebred sirva.  Nyar kozepen
Viragzanak mind es igy a tietek,
Kozepkoru urak.  Isten hozott ha`t. 

“Hogyha a na`rcisz, a sa`rga virag ke`l,
A`j a lea`nyka a volgyre kijo,
Ve`r pirosul, szokik szokik a halovany te`l,
Ez csak a kellemes-e`des ido.”

“Nesze neked a`nizs meg galambvirag”

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