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The Flowers Personified

Section 3



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     In the latter days of Rome, the rose was the only flower they knew.

           Mark Antony, on his deathbed, asked that he might be covered with roses.

           To recover his original shape, the golden ass of Apuleius had only to eat roses.

           The ancients were wont to scatter roses upon the tomb; and went yearly to offer rose-cakes – rosales escć – to the shades of their kindred and friends.

           With roses wreathed around their brows, guests used to pledge each other in the festal cup.

           Artists enlivened the gloomy brow of Hecate, with a crown of roses.

           It was usual to place on the table a vase, whose mouth was concealed by roses. These roses were the graceful emblem of that discreet silence with which we should guard those free remarks, that escape in the gayety of the festive board. Wo to the profane one who uncovered le pot aux roses.

           It was the time when Nero shared the throne with Poppća, and commanded that divine honors should be paid to her.

           I was then called Lesbia, and I had a country-seat at Pśstum, where poets resorted to recite to me their odes.