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“Lilium” and Its Traces in Classical Turkish Poetry
Lilium (zanbac) is an elegant flower with nice fragrance that gained symbolic meanings in ancient civilizations, mythology and religious myths. In time, it symbolized innocence, chastity and purity. White lilium also known as the Madonna lilium is identified with Virgin Marry, too. In religious icon and paintings, lilium is mentioned as a “dynasty flower” in the West countries. In the meantime, lilium had a special place in Turkish gardens with its tall stem and pure white flowers. Due to its aesthetic image, it is a source of inspiration to the poets of the Classical Turkish literature that observes nature down to its tiniest details. As a corollary, this paper browses the Dîvân of many poets who wrote poems in different centuries, so as to track the use of lilium in Classical Turkish poetry. In the couplets identified, it is seen that the lilium is compared to the nose and fingers of the lover. But this depiction or analogy is not persistently seen since a nose or fingers are not attractive for a lover all the time. Lilium, opening up other image doors to the poets with its aesthetic outlook, is also the highlight in a Turkish flower garden, thanks to its long stem and yellow seeds in the center. Analogies are drawn between this flower and objects such as bâzûbend, candle, mecmua, column etc. Lilium, associated with the miracle of “kef-i beyzâ” by Prophet Moses is commonly elaborated in the Dîvân of the poets of the 16th century, in this regard. In a nutshell, since it was not identified with strong attractive beauty features of a lover as much as a rose, a narcissus or a hyacinth etc. and tulip gained popularity in the 18th century, lilium could not gain a place anymore in Dîvân, in the following centuries.

zanbac, lilium, fleur de lis, Classical Turkish literature.

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