BETWEEN THE LINES / A floral tribute: Denis Quilley, the actor, on the links between man and nature in Christopher Fry's The Lady's Not for Burning

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Jennet: 'What can we see in this light? Nothing, I think, except flakes of drifting fear, the promise of oblivion.'

Thomas: 'Nothing can be seen in the thistle-down, but the rough-headed thistle comes. Rest in that riddle. I can pass to you generations of roses in this wrinkled berry. There: now you hold in your hand a race of summer gardens, it lies under centuries of petals. What is not, you have in your hand.'

From The Lady's Not for Burning by Christopher Fry

CHRISTOPHER FRY's loving and intimate relationship with the natural world glows through every line he writes. His plays team with images which link man to the flowers, the animals and the universe: to the whole mystery of creation, birth, death and rebirth - the magical spring which also follows even the darkest winter.

Schweitzer's Reverence for Life comes to mind but Fry's love of humanity and all creation, though certainly reverent, is never solemn. It is full of joy, exuberance and affectionate laughter, and has been an inspiration throughout the 40 years my wife and I have known him.

Denis Quilley is playing Mr Hardcastle in 'She Stoops to Conquer', which opens tonight at Chichester Festival Theatre.

(Photograph omitted)

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