Marigolds and mazes

Kingcups or marsh marigolds, Monmouthshire and Brecon canal. © C A Lovegrove

Amongst burgeoning green and accents of blue – from pale forget-me-not, Germander Speedwell and Spanish bluebells for instance – spring (for me at any rate) primarily displays a riot of rich buttery gold. There are the now fading daffodils “that come before the swallow dares,” as Shakespeare wrote, and his “cuckoo-buds of yellow hue” which might well be buttercups; also showy insect-friendly dandelions with their lion’s teeth leaves, cowslips multiplying in a local graveyard, stellar celandines carpeting footpath verges … and, especially on the banks of the local canal, cheery kingcups bursting out in bunches by the water’s margins.

The kingcups particularly take me back a half century to when I used to be part of an amateur Arthurian group based in the West Country. Back then, in an editorial from its magazine Pendragon in November 1971, the Pendragon Society’s Honorary Secretary wrote the following:

“Can anyone, please, help us to trace this quotation to its source?
‘Where in the likeness of a marigold Meridianes [sic] sitteth in a maze.’
The only clue we have is that the elderly lady who quotes it to us, and who is now cut off from her former library, has always been a great reader of medieval books.”

Pendragon Vol 5 No 3

The source of this reference was never traced, and even that great virtual library in the sky, namely Google, has come up with absolutely zilch five decades later. But of course all that hasn’t stopped me speculating what these lines might possibly mean; which has then led me on an exploration of Meridianus, marigolds, and mazes.

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