The eye catching primroses (Primula vulgaris) has long been a popular source of inspiration for writers and poets.
In ‘To a Primrose’ (1796), Georgian poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge likens the arrival of these tender flowers in Springtime to the first sparks of health shown by someone recovering from illness.
Like the first, reticent flushes of colour returning to pale, tired cheeks the Primrose emerges patiently from the sickness of Winter and triumphantly flourishes.
TO A PRIMROSE
The first seen in the season
Nitens et roboris expers
Turget et insolida est: et spe delectat.
- Ovid, Metam. (xv.203)
Thy smiles I note, sweet early Flower,
That peeping from thy rustic bower
The festive news to earth dost bring,
A fragrant messenger of Spring.
But, tender blossom, why so pale?
Dost hear stern Winter in the gale?
And didst thou tempt the ungentle sky
To catch one vernal glance and die?
Such the wan lustre Sickness wears
When Health's first feeble beam appears;
So languid are the smiles that seek
To settle on the care-worn cheek,
When timorous Hope the head uprears,
Still drooping and still moist with tears,
If, through dispersing grief, be seen
Of Bliss the heavenly spark serene.
And sweeter far the early blow,
Fast following after storms of Woe,
Than (Comfort's riper season come)
Are full-blown joys and Pleasure's gaudy bloom.
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