Since the arrival of the spring equinox or “Ostara” as it’s often called, the first signs of rebirth can usually be seen among the blooming flowers, especially the daffodils or “jonquils” as they’re affectionately called by many. Their beautiful petals in varying degrees of yellow cannot help but bring happiness and delight. Tennessee Williams used jonquils as a symbol for the past and happier times; his character Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie was so in love with the flower that a whole monologue is dedicated to them. She recalls a spring when, as a young girl, she “Had the craze for jonquils. Jonquils became an absolute obsession.” “Whenever, wherever I saw them, I’d say, ‘Stop! Stop! I see jonquils!’ I made the young men help me gather the jonquils! It was a joke, Amanda and her jonquils!”
Daffodils or “jonquils” are a genus of perennial plants of the Amaryllidaceae family that grow mainly in spring and are sometimes simply referred to simply as “Narcissus.” Because of their association with Lent, the daffodil is also sometimes called the “Lent Lily” in England.
Some of the most wonderful musings on this flower are from the Romantic poets and William Wordsworth in particular. In his 1807 poem I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud he wrote of a walk in which he “All at once” “Saw a crowd, / a host, of golden daffodils; / Beside the lake, beneath the trees, / Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”
Wordsworth went on to describe how the daffodils outshone the bay they grew near: “The waves beside them danced; but they / Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: / A poet could not be gay, / In such jocund company: / I gazed—and gazed—but little thought / What wealth the show to me had brought: / For oft, when on my couch I lie / In vacant or in pensive mood, / They flash upon that inward eye / Which is bliss of solitude; / And then my heart with pleasure fills, / And dances with the daffodils.”
We, just like Wordsworth, are lucky to be able to witness such natural beauty and, hopefully, experience great pleasure when gazing upon a bouquet of daffodils.
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