Quoted Wit, Poems, and Wisdom for Midsummer

Midsummer Day is one of the four quarter days used in England and Wales since the Middle Ages, falling the Summer Solstice around June 21st.

In Sweden they celebrate by eating the first potatoes, pickled herring, soured cream and strawberries.

Eleanor Perenyi, Green Thoughts (1981)

Looking at my dahlias one summer day, a friend whose taste runs to the small and impeccable said sadly,

‘You do like big, conspicuous flowers, don’t you?’ She meant vulgar, and I am used to that. It hasn’t escaped me that mine is the only Wasp garden in town to contain dahlias, and not the discreet little singles either. Some are as blowzy as half-dressed Renoir girls; others are like spiky sea-creatures, water-lilies, or the spirals in a crystal paperweight; and they do shoot up to prodigious heights.

But to me they are sumptuous, not vulgar, and I love their colors, their willingness to bloom until the frost kills them and, yes, their assertiveness. I do like big flowers when they are also beautiful.

Green Thoughts by Eleanor Perenyi

In Summer

Paul Laurence Dunbar, 1872 – 1906
Oh, summer has clothed the earth
In a cloak from the loom of the sun!
And a mantle, too, of the skies’ soft blue,
And a belt where the rivers run.
And now for the kiss of the wind,
And the touch of the air’s soft hands,
With the rest from strife and the heat of life,
With the freedom of lakes and lands.

Here’s flowers for you;
Hot lavender, mints, savoury, marjoram;
The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ the sun
And with him rises weeping: these are flowers
Of middle summer, and I think they are given
To men of middle age.
-William Shakespeare

Summer’s Joy

Poetical Sketches
To Summer

O THOU who passest thro’ our valleys in
Thy strength, curb thy fierce steeds, allay the heat
That flames from their large nostrils! thou, O Summer,
Oft pitched’st here thy golden tent, and oft
Beneath our oaks hast slept, while we beheld
With joy thy ruddy limbs and flourishing hair.

Beneath our thickest shades we oft have heard
Thy voice, when noon upon his fervid car
Rode o’er the deep of heaven; beside our springs
Sit down, and in our mossy valleys, on
Some bank beside a river clear, throw thy
Silk draperies off, and rush into the stream:
Our valleys love the Summer in his pride.

Our bards are fam’d who strike the silver wire:
Our youth are bolder than the southern swains:
Our maidens fairer in the sprightly dance:
We lack not songs, nor instruments of joy,
Nor echoes sweet, nor waters clear as heaven,
Nor laurel wreaths against the sultry heat.

“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.”
-  William Shakespeare

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
-  William Shakespeare

In the grey summer garden I shall find you
With day-break and the morning hills behind you.
There will be rain-wet roses; stir of wings;
-Siegfried Sassoon, ‘Idyll’

The Sign of the Daisy

All summer she scattered the daisy leaves;

They only mocked her as they fell.

She said: “The daisy but deceives;

‘He loves me not,’ ‘he loves me well,’

One story no two daisies tell.”

Ah foolish heart, which waits and grieves

Under the daisy’s mocking spell.

– Helen Hunt Jackson (Helen Hunt), The Sign of the Daisy

Emerald Doors

Summer has now thrown open her emerald doors. Every part of the landscape is profuse in leaves and flowers, and “green-robed senators of mighty woods” are clothed in their most elegant array.   -author unknown

“Gently I stir a white feather fan,
With open shirt sitting in a green wood.
I take off my cap and hang it on a jutting stone;
A wind from the pine-tree trickles on my bare head.”
-  Li Po, Summer in the Mountains

What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade

Gertrude Jekyll

Plantswoman Extraordinaire, 1843 - 1932

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