March 2015

The sight of pale yellow-tinged daffodil buds pushing up through the cold soil is an encouraging signal that winter is retreating. In ecclesiastical circles especially, the daffodil is sometimes known as the Lent Lily, and tradition says that the flower will open on Ash Wednesday and die on Easter Day – a tradition immortalized in A.E. Housman’s poem “The Lent Lily”:

The Lent Lily

‘Tis spring; come out to ramble
The hilly brakes around,
For under thorn and bramble
About the hollow ground
The primroses are found.

And there’s the windflower chilly
With all the winds at play,
And there’s the Lenten lily
That has not long to stay
And dies on Easter day.

And since till girls go maying
You find the primrose still,
And find the windflower playing
With every wind at will,
But not the daffodil,

Bring baskets now, and sally
Upon the spring’s array,
And bear from hill and valley
The daffodil away
That dies on Easter day.