From the Churchyard - Daffodils
The first daffodil in England was brought by the Romans and is often known as 'The Lent Lily'. Wild and slight, compared to its cousins, it favours woodlands and is paler in colour. This was probably the daffodil immemorialised by William Wordsworth. The sight of daffodils is always uplifting because, as Shakespeare said:
"When daffodils begin to peer -
Why, then comes in the sweet of the year."
- The year has turned, leaving winter behind, and the blazing golden daffodils trumpet this.
The daffodil has a special place in English and European culture. Great poets - Milton, Keats, Shelley and artists too, - Vincent Van Gogh among them, have all celebrated this beautiful flower and featured it in art and verse. There are frescoes of daffodils on the walls of Pompeii and many references to it in classical mythology, the most famous being the story of Narcissus.
In Germany, its name is 'Osterglocke' which means 'Easter bell' and this references its flowering time as having religious significance. Cecil Day Lewis wrote a poem on this same subject:
"Our trumpeters in gold,
Call resurrection from the ground,
And bid the year be bold..."
Many mothers have for centuries had a bunch of these flowers presented to them on Mothering Sunday. If you have an opportunity do come and see the daffodils in St. Peter's churchyard; they are beautiful.
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