Literary Calligraphy by Susan Loy

February Birth Flowers Selection - "VIOLETS"


"A single violet transplant," is described in John Donne's poem "The Ectasy" and is pictured in intricate botanical detail. Donne uses the violet as a metaphor for strength and regeneration.

The violet is the flower of February in the North American flower calendar. Violet means faithfulness or faith in the Victorian language of flowers. The sweet violet is Viola odorata. Violet is the diminutive of Viola, the Latin form of the Greek name Ione. Some writers explain this association with a Greek legend in which Jupiter changed his beloved Io into a white heifer and caused violets to grow as food for her. Other writers refer to the Latin word vias, meaning wayside, for the derivation of the word violet. The flowers are generally deep purple, giving their name to the color that is named after them.

"A single violet transplant, the strength, the colour, and the size (all which before was poor, and scant) redoubles still, and multiplies."

John Donne was born in London in 1572. Considered by many to be the best of the "Metaphysical Poets," Donne was noted for his prose and poetry. The first collection of his poems was published in 1633, two years after his death. "The Ecstasy" was probably written in the period 1601 to 1615.

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February Birth Flower "Violets"
Text by John Donne
Signed prints produced from the original watercolor

Image size: 4-1/2" x 4-1/2"
Paper size: 8" x 8"
Frame size: 10" x 10"

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