There is an old legend that tells the sad tale of how the ‘Forget~Me~Not’ gained its name. The story is of a lady who one evening whilst strolling beside the river Danube with her gallant knight Rondolf spotted a pretty blue flower. It’s beauty stopped her in her tracks and Rondolf could not resist reaching out to collect it for her.
Unfortunately he slips on the muddy bank, falling into the water. He manages to throw the flower to his fair maid shouting “Forget-me-not.” Sadly all she can do is clutch the flower to her breast as she watches her beloved dragged beneath the waves by his heavy armour and carried away never to be seen again.
The story is immortalised in a wonderful piece of floral poetry by Miss Pickergill which is featured in ‘The Poetry of the Flowers’ by Mrs C.N. Kirtland 1800
By Miss Pickersgill
(Featured in Mrs Kirtlands ‘Poetry of Flowers’)
“See how yon glittering wave in sportive play
Washes the bank, and steals the flowers away.
And must they thus in bloom and beauty die.
Without the passing tribute of a sigh?”
“No, Bertha, those young flowerets there
Shall form a braid for thy sunny hair;
I yet will save one, if but one
Soft smile reward me when ’tis done.”
He said, and plunged into the stream
His only light was the moon’s pale beam.
” Stay! stay! “she cried—but he had caught
The drooping flowers, and breathless sought
To place the treasures at the feet
Of her from whom e’en death were sweet.
With outstretched arms upon the shore she stood,
With tearful eye she gazed upon the flood.
Whose swelling tide now seemed as if ‘twould sever
Her faithful lover from her arms forever.
Still through the surge he panting strove to gain
The welcome strand—but, ah! he strove in vain !
Yet once the false stream bore him to the spot
Where stood his bride in muteness of despair:
And scarcely had he said, “ Forget me not !”
And flung the dearly ransomed flowerets there,
When the dark wave closed o’er him, and no more
Was seen young Rodolph on the Danube’s shore.
Aghast she stood; she saw the tranquil stream
Pass o’er him—could it be a fleeting dream?
Ah, no! the last fond words, “ Forget me not !”
Told it was all a sad reality.
With frantic grasp the dripping flowers she prest.
Too dearly purchased, to her aching breast.
Alas! her tears, her sorrows now were vain.
For him she loved she ne’er shall see again!
Is this then a bridal, where, sad in her bower.
The maid weeps alone at the nuptial hour;
Where hushed is the harp, and silent the lute
Ah! why should their thrilling strains be mute?
And where is young Rodolph? where stays the bridegroom?
Go, ask the dark waters, for there is his tomb.
Often at eve when maidens rove
Beside the Danube’s wave,
They tell the tale of hapless love,
And show young Rodolph’s grave;
And cull the flowers from that sweet spot.
Still calling them ” Forget-me-not.”
TO THE CROCUS.
By Mary Patterson
(From Mrs Kirtland’s Poetry of Flowers 1800)
Lowly, sprightly little flower !
Herald of a brighter bloom,
Bursting in a sunny hour
From thy winter tomb.
Hues you bring, bright, gay, and tender,
As if never to decay;
Fleeting in their varied splendor-
Soon, alas ! it fades away.
Thus the hopes I long had cherished
Thus the friends I long had known.
One by one, like you, have perished.
Blighted—I must fade alone.
Images courtesy of Pixabay
From ‘The Poetry of Flowers’ by Mrs Kirtland 1800
‘Tis sweet to love in childhood, when the souls that we bequeath
When we feed the gentle robin, and caress the leaping hound,
And linger latest on the spot where buttercups are found:
When we seek the bee and ladybird with laughter, shout, and song,
And think the day for wooing them can never be too long.
Oh ! ’tis sweet to love in childhood, and though stirred by meanest things.
The music that the heart yields then will never leave its stings.
‘Tis sweet to love in after years the dear one by our side;
To dote with all the mingled joys of passion, hope, and pride;
To think the chain around our breast will hold still warm and fast,
And grieve to know that death must come to break the link at last.
But when the rainbow span of bliss is waning, hue by hue;
When eyes forget their kindly beams, and lips become less true;
When stricken hearts are pining on through many a lonely hour,
Who would not sigh “’tis safer far to love the bird and flower?”
‘Tis sweet to love in ripened age the trumpet blast of Fame,
To pant to live on Glory’s scroll, though blood may trace the name;
‘Tis sweet to love the heap of gold, and hug it to our breast,—
To trust it as the guiding star and anchor of our rest.
But such devotion will not serve—however strong the zeal —
To overtlirow the altar where our childhood loved to kneel.
Some bitter moment shall o’ercast the sun of wealth and power.
And then proud man would fain go back to worship bird and flower.
Everyone knows of the buttercup game children, and often lovers play to find out if their friend or partners like butter. The bright yellow petals will shine upon the skin when the pretty flower is held beneath the chin. This little folk legend has been passed down through many generations, the research I have done on flowers has not helped me find the origin.
However, I did find some scientific facts that Cambridge physicists in the UK have discovered that the buttercup is able to shine upon the skin and other surfaces because the cells of the petals contain carotenoids which reflect yellow light. Unlike many other wildflowers the reflection of the yellow light is enhanced because the buttercup has a second layer of cells separated by a layer of air which makes it shine all the more brighter. I still love the game and it often brings happy memories.
One thing I did not know was that the buttercup actually contains toxins, the poisonous substance is called ranunculin. It is found in the flower, the leaves and the seeds especially if crushed.
Sensitive folk may have a reaction to the pretty flower causing their skin to become blistered and irritated. Animals as well as humans will experience a variety of other symptoms, such as excessive salivation, nausea, difficulty breathing, convulsions and sometimes paralysis if the buttercup is eaten. So you have been warned.
I hope you enjoy this feature on my blog I would love to read your thoughts. Poems similar to this are featured in my book ‘Lost Love in Spring’
We came upon her suddenly……that city of dreams
Kissed by early sunlight, reflected in her streams.
Such grandeur and opulence, a feast to charm the eye
Basking, smiling; beckoning as slowly we drift by.
We stepped into her narrow streets……in reverence and in awe
Past Baroque Portals, Palaces and Bridges by the score.
Where saints in all their glory look down without a word
As hordes of eager travellers and pigeons converge.
We heard the chimes of ancient bells….a boatman’s sweet refrain
Captivating lovers with his Barcarola strain.
Shops full up to brimming with multi-coloured faces
Scrutinising, stalking they stare with spectral gazes.
We visited the church of gold ……where histories unfold.
The Tower of the Campanile, magnificent and bold.
In narrow twisting alleyways, her waters cool and clear
Tween every nook and cranny, she hides a secret there
We left her shores at sunset ………the waterfront aglow.
With bustling taverns, twinkling lights – so sad to see her go
And as she faded into night that Janus of the seas
We vowed to see her shores again and solve her mysteries
City of Dreams ©Felicity Snowden 2017
What a beautiful poem I simply had to share it with you lovely folks
Thanks for dropping by
Whilst researching for several of my books, I came across some beautiful poems, several I used within the books themselves. I thought it would be nice to share some of those findings here and perhaps in a regular blog feature ‘Floral Poetry & Prose’. The majority of the poems are from a book I discovered that was printed in 1800 ‘The Poetry of Flowers’ by Mrs Kirtland.
Images courtesy of Pixabay
As Hope, with bowed head, silent stood,
And on her golden anchor leant,
Watching below the angry flood.
While Winter, ‘mid the dreariment
Half-buried in the drifted snow.
Lay sleeping on the frozen ground,
Not heeding how the wind did blow.
Bitter and bleak on all around :
She gazed on Spring, who at her feet
Was looking at the snow and sleet.
Spring sighed, and through the driving gale
Her warm breath caught the falling snow.
And from the flakes a flower as pale
Did into spotless whiteness blow;
Hope, smiling, saw the blossom fall.
And watched its root strike in the earth,—
“I will that flower the Snowdrop call,”
Said Hope, “in memory of its birth;
And through all ages it shall be
In reverence held, for love of me.”
“And ever from my hidden bowers,”
Said Spring, “it first of all shall go,
And be the herald of the flowers.
To warn away the sheeted snow :
Its mission done, then by thy side
All summer long it shall remain.
While other flowers I scatter wide
O’er every hill, and wood, and plain.
This shall return, and ever be
A sweet companion, Hope, for thee.”
Hope stooped and kissed her sister Spring,
And said, “For hours when thou art gone,
I’m left alone without a thing
That I can fix my heart upon,
‘Twill cheer me many a lonely hour.
And in the future I shall see
Those who would sink, raised by that flower.
They’ll look on it, then think of thee ;
And many a weary heart shall sing.
The Snowdrop bringeth Hope and Spring.
‘The Snowdrop’ is one of my most favourite poems, I have been unable to find out the poet, as in the book there is no name listed against it. However, I do know that it is a story from folklore of two sisters Hope & Spring. The first being sad that winter is upon them and the second to cheer up her sister, breaths life into a tiny snowflake creating the snowdrop that brings joy to the other that lasts well into summer time.
I hope you enjoy this new feature on my blog I would love to read your thoughts. Poems similar to this are featured in my book ‘Lost Love in Spring’
Oh my goodness I forgot all about sharing this poem with the world, it is now featured in my ‘Rainbows & Roses ~ Poetry & Prose’ book.
So today I am sharing with you one of my saddest memories. It’s in the form of a little poem to go into my forth coming book ‘Rainbows & Roses – Poetry & Prose’. The book will be dedicated to my father.
I Wish I Could Remember …
I wish I could remember
how you bounced me on your knee,
and lifted me up high, to touch the sky
when I was three.
I wish I could remember
the sound of laughter sweet.
Especially when together
sparkling, shining eyes would meet.
I wish I could remember,
when we walked upon the sand.
We paddled in the water,
While you gently held my hand.
But all that I remember
is a smoky grey dull day,
and images in photographs
before God, stole you, away.
Now the angels share your smile, instead of me.
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