In William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the juice of a pansy “on sleeping eyelids laid, will make a man or woman madly dote upon the next live creature that it sees.” And in his Hamlet, doomed Ophelia, in one scene, distributes pansies, exclaiming, “There’s pansies, that’s for thoughts.” Other writers and poets—including William Wordsworth, Nathaniel Hawthorne and D.H. Lawrence—have included “the humble pansy” in their works. And Margaret Mitchell named her heroine “Pansy”—changing it (at the last minute) to “Scarlet” just before sending the book off to the printer. Painters like O’Keefe, van Gogh and Fantin-Latour all have notable works featuring the flower.
The name “Pansy” comes from the French word Pensée which means “thought.” For this reason, pansies are often a symbol of romantic remembrance. Freethinkers have adopted the flower for their lapels, as well. The flower is also considered a symbol of pious humility and was given the alternative name “Heart’s-Ease” (or “Heartsease”) by Saint Euphrasia (herself a model of pious humility).
A Japanese botanical sketch from 1917 has been reproduced on the greeting card, pictured above. It is part of our newly-received collection of fresh, Spring greeting cards—many of them with floral sketches. Please come into the shop to see the full assortment.