Shakespeare and the beauty of nature | Sunday Observer

Shakespeare and the beauty of nature

23 May, 2021
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare

The immense power of Shakespeare lies in his ability to inspire all. If he was the greatest dramatist that lived, he was also the educator of English to the world. He did not stop there. He played a major role in standardising spelling and grammar that led to proper pronunciation.

He inspired a string of high profile composers and writer like Geothe and Charles Dickens. He resurrected history with many lapses in his plays because he was not a historian.

He selected fables from Italian romances or from ancient chronicles or even from remote England of his time.

He discovered Greeks obedient to tradition and therefore Greece was hardly the backdrop to his writing as tradition did not sit upon his writing.

Strange and supernatural was fine by him because we come across illusions that surround love and emotion or sexual subjection often transcended the frailty of love.

Never looked seriously nor pitifully which was a reason being his forced marriage to Anne, the woman who never rose to his literary knowledge that made Shakespeare look at women as monstrous, murderous, suicidal, homicidal, ambitious, vengeful.

These female characters are rampant in his plays.

Yet, his thoughts are brilliant, beautiful, intriguing and poignant. They held the world in awe and still does.

What made him the phenomenon he is? Nature and her inhabitants as he lucidly explains in turning points in many sequences in his plays that can be termed as endorsements to convention but often with reaction to his mind. In As You Like It, Shakespeare explains life’s journey very vividly:-

The Seven Ages: All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time play many parts.
He acts being seven ages’

Woodland Bird: ‘The ousel-cock, so black of hue, with orange tawny bill.
The throttle with his note so true, the wren with little quill
The finch, the sparrow and the lark,
The plain-song cuckoo grey

How spacious were his words?

How real his approach as he spread magic in everything that connected his life when he meandered through life’s long journey. The seasons and their diversity sat themselves in his writing and imagination. Effortlessly, the brilliance sought and gifted their endless boundless beauty so he may glorify their wonders.

Nature’s Wonder: - Full many a glorious morning have I seen

Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy’

However, different schools of thought support his ideologies of preserving the original Shakespearian English he used in dialogue, drama, prose, poetry, verse, sonnets, etc.

There had always been an object within his writing no matter how scholars construed them.

Tradition was never his forte though radical contemporaries tried hard as they did to destructively crticise his writing and when to the extent sneering at the composed and constituted the non-competitive era he created in relentless school of ideology.

So colossal were their impact and made other poets appear dull and listless when nature in her glory offered the best of all four seasons so much so that even winter had little flowers peering through crevices in search of day light only to die upon winter blast but not before Shakespeare caught a glimpse of them. He was able to appreciate their contribution in some small way.

He was by birth and instinct a countryman and raised in the native Warwickshire among the environment that made early impressions in his young mind he carried through to his writings.

His parents from both sides belonged to farming families and not far from his birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon which at that time was a little market town.

It linked the River Avon the poet cherished, holding back memories with snow-white gliding swans beside the open fields and pastures.

As he grew up in the freshness of the rural and left behind Stratford when London beckoned him where he made his fortune and name as a poet, Shakespeare remained the man from the native village that divided the Arden woodlands and forests.

Very often he wandered in the land at Welcomb on her rising ground looking beyond the river valley and perhaps made his fortune as playwright and part owner of the Globe Theatre.

Over twenty-nine scenes containing flowers and foliage are found in his writing adding so much beauty and character upon his wondrous writings.

He was such an accurate observer never missing any detail as to their individuality that made him a natural botanist.

Where the bee sucks, there suck!
In a cowslip’s bell I lie.
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat’s back I do fly

After summer merrily…….

Beautiful and simple are these wonders of a child’s world of imagination that Shakespeare wrote for them with flying bats, sleeping fairies, crying owls surrounded by nature and her flowers of spring.

I can count up to twenty five flowers named by the poet across his plays and they are all found in the woodlands of Warwickshire during the four seasons and belong to the Bard, I suppose. The ones used in the article are Pansies, Daffodils, Lilies and Oxlips and their photographs original.

For children, he was a favourite in the only play written from them. In Tempest, he uses the cowslip where Ariel would curl and lie, denoting their size.

The Fauna And Flora: The tail-wagging animals that show affection and trust such as dear and domesticated or street dogs, groveling and lavishing caresses and all plants characteristics of composite flowers and flowers of particular epoch reminding us of Fauna, the Goddess of Flowers. …..

The Rose:- ‘Of all flowers, Methinks a Rose is best

It is the very emblem of a maid.
For when the west winds court her gently,

How modestly she blows and paints the sun
With her chaste blushes. When the North winds hears her

Rude and impatient, then like chastity,
She locks her beauties in her bud again.
And leaves him to base briers.

One can still experience and see what life was like for the young Shakespeare growing up in Stratford-upon-Avon at his home in Henley Street where the garden still contains many plants, herbs and flowers as were in his time many of whom are mentioned by him in his plays…….

In the Chancel of the Holy Trinity Church are found the graves of William Shakespeare, Anne Hathaway, Thomas Nash, Dr. John Hall and his wife Susanna Shakespeare.

The church contains a fine set of 15th C. Misericords and an ancient chained Holy Bible. It is open all year for visitors to examine and pay their respects to the Shakespeare family as no visit to Stratford-upon-Avon is completes without stopping off at Holy Trinity Church.