Found Poetry Thursday – On Violets – Platearius


While my reading journey takes me far afield, I am always on the lookout for unexpected (AKA “found”) poetry. I just finished reading an interesting book on the nearly lost, largely forgotten, 17th century herbal encyclopedia Theatrum Botanicum by John Parkinson (1567-1650). At 1,788 large folio pages long, it was considered the zenith of English herbalism. In describing Parkinson’s entry on violets and their widely purported use for the treatment of headache (and hangovers – who knew?) the authors cited another even older source. Written in latin verse, the herbal book Circa Instans, is attributed to the 12th century Italian physician Matthaeus Platearius (although at least one source I found describes this attribution as extremely suspect). Regardless of its provenance, this practical yet clever rhyme certainly boosted my esteem of violets! Photograph and composition by me.


    1. Let me know if you find out more or if you try it! I have to admit that it is difficult for me to imagine life before (or without) ibuprofen for headaches, but our ancestors must have done something to ease their pain!


    1. That’s true! Both the current authors and their historical sources were very enthusiastic about violets for all things headache related. I have never tried it myself, but I am definitely intrigued.


      1. 🙂 violet is a very soothing color and smell… and it’s swell as a flower so what the hell?

        happy tuesday, meredith


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