Sunday, February 12, 2012

Camellias and Shakespeare

"Love... is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark."

-- Shakespeare, Sonnet 116

 Camellias at Robinson Gardens

With Valentine's Day coming up I couldn't resist going to the beautiful Virginia Robinson Gardens to hear a lecture on Shakespeare's Sonnets.  After all, the sonnets may be the most beautiful and famous meditations on love ever written. In his excellent discussion the lecturer compared the formality of the sonnet to the formality of French gardens during Shakespeare's time.

Since I was in one of the most beautiful gardens in Los Angeles I decided to take a walk after the lecture to see what was in bloom.  Tim Lindsay, executive director of Robinson Gardens, told me not to miss the camellias.  He was right, they are magnificent.   

Gardens and Shakespeare --  a winning combination to provide inspiration for Valentine's Day.  And  isn't this the perfect Shakespearean sonnet for your Valentine?

"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometimes declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest;
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee."  --  Shakespeare, Sonnet 18

Here's to a Valentine's Day of love, flowers and poetry.
Happy Valentine's Day!


  1. Reminds me of my mom, she loved camellias. Thank you.

  2. Yes! That is the perfect sonnet. It and your photos of camellias in bloom have me REALLY craving spring!

    I hope your Valentine's Day is the sweetest!


  3. The camellias are magnificent! We got a little less than half a foot of snow last night, so no camellias for us (at least any time soon).

    Sounds like a fascinating lecture and what a venue! You're making me want to pack up and head for Los Angeles.

  4. are giving me a yearning to explore more of California one day... I have spent a lot of time in La Jolla...and thought nothing could beat I know better. :)

    Happy Valentine's Day!
    Jeanne xx

  5. I have fond memories of memorizing this sonnet and reciting it in front of my English class!!! It's a classic :)

  6. What a lovely place to spend time. The Camellias are glorious and the colors are prefect. Wishing you the perfect Valentine's Day.

    The French Hutch

  7. So beautiful! Just the word 'camelia' is such a love name for a flower. We've been watching two Shakespeare 'movies' a week lately. They are the BBC modern versions of the comedies and tragedies. We just watched "Taming of the Shrew" yesterday. It was heavy and a bit racy for my son but well filmed and hilariously funny. Next, I'll go through a series that are not so 'modern' so they can see and hear the real story and language.

  8. Beautiful sonnet and beautiful camelias...hope it was a wonderful day!!

  9. Camelias were very abundant when I was growing, and I mostly remember the blooms rotting on the ground. I've only recently come to really love and appreciate them. And of course, beautiful sonnet.