Monday, July 8, 2013

Down the Primrose Path

I awoke this morning thinking about beautiful garden paths
and the idea of the metaphorical primrose path came to mind.
I had always heard people say in admonition to someone
that they were being 'led down the primrose path,'
a metaphor introduced by Shakespeare in Hamlet in 1600:

But, good my brother,
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven;
Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads ... 

I found some more interesting information
in the Oxford English Dictionary.

First of all, primroses are a centuries-old wildflower.
The term is from Old French primerole / primula
which loosely meant 'firstling of spring'
and referred alternately to cowslip:

and also to field daisies:

And the term primrose also refers to these little pink gems 
that I've seen growing snug in the grass 
along the roadways here in Virginia:

So imagine a primrose path with any of those three wildflowers growing alongside.
But why imagine, when there are a few photos out there?
I figured some creative person probably planted a real primrose path
with hybrid plants and sure enough, they did. 
Here is one:

Here's a path in France lined with wild primrose

Being led down the primrose path may be a metaphorical warning,
but heading down the real thing in early spring...lovely.

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