Romance, Roses And Twelfth Night

Romantic roses

This is one of my favourite rose pictures. I find it extra romantic, though it’s hard to say why. The clustering roses themselves, or the small detail of them being tied to their support? Perhaps; we don’t need poets to tell us that love binds where it frees. The leafy, bower-like setting helps and the pensive, shadowy statue in the background is casting her influence too. She seems to be waiting for someone rather than just admiring the view.

The last few days I’ve been re-reading Twelfth Night in token of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, so in my imagination the statue is channeling not Olivia, but the more sympathetic, perceptive, androgynous Viola: a girl disguised as a man, mourning her twin brother, who finds herself falling in love with the man who sends her off to woo another woman on his behalf.

It’s a fancy on love and folly that still seems fresh, despite all the social changes in the last 400 years. If only every generation had its own Shakespeare – how much kinder and more enlightened would we be?

I was lucky to see the play many years ago in a hilarious performance at Manchester’s Exchange Theatre. Until then, though I understood that Shakespeare wrote comedies, I’d not been moved to laugh out loud, over and over, at the absurdity of Sir Toby and Sir Andrew in their cups, or to feel that uncomfortable mix of amusement, scorn and pity for the tortured Malvolio who gets his comeuppance and more.

In my present leafy surroundings, with this season’s roses already in full bloom outside, this was the play that demanded to be read – and the picture I most wanted to share.

I hope you’ve been enjoying a leisurely Sunday too.


14 Replies to “Romance, Roses And Twelfth Night”

  1. I love Twelfth Night too, and I think it was probably the first of Shakespeare’s plays that I saw that gave me the full appreciation of his work, the use of language and insight into humanity still amazes and impresses me. Beautiful photo, the almost purple quality of the pink is so opulent, but delicate too.

    1. The older I get, the more Shakespeare amazes me. The colour of the rose attracted me to the scene. It wasn’t all that romantic in real life – it was taken in a garden centre rather than a leafy glade!

  2. Enjoyable read. I’m tempted to revisit Shakespeare’s Comedies now. Did see a Hippy American take on Twelfth Night at Edinburgh Fringe which I really enjoyed. Roses with statue behind make for a really beautiful image.

    1. That sounds like fun! I’ve borrowed a teaching version with a modern version of the text opposite the original and am finding quite a few things I would have missed. It is slowing me down as I seem to be reading it twice!

  3. Beautiful picture. I, too, love “Twelfth Night.” It’s one of my favorites. And doesn’t Viola have a lovely name?

      1. I’m think I should get a six pack of violas to put in a pot. After all, this is the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death. And, no telling what he would have made of modern repeat-flowering roses 😉

    1. They often have interesting new or reclaimed garden art at Burford Garden Company, which is one of the reasons I like to visit if I’m passing through the Cotswolds.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: