Saturday, February 7, 2009

Valentines and Roses

One of my favorite antique books is a tiny volume by the title of The Bouquet: Containing the Poetry and Language of Flowers, by A Lady, published in 1846. On the title page there is a lovely poem that tells the reader why this book is so very valuable:

"Flowers are love's truest language; they betray,
Like the divining rods of magi old,
Where priceless wealth lies buried; not of gold,
But love, strong love, that never can decay!
I send thee flowers, O dearest! and I deem
That from their petals thou wilt hear sweet words,
Whose music, clearer than the voice of birds,
When breathed to thee alone, perchance, may seem
All eloquent of feelings unexpressed" . . . . P. Benjamin.

Within its pages, The Bouquet lists the various meanings of flowers, some still popular today, along with an accompanying poem for each. I found it very interesting that there are various meanings for roses, depending on the type and color. It lists the following:

Austrian Rose -- "Thou art all that's lovely"
Bridal Rose -- "Happy Love"
Damask Rose -- "Bashful Love"
Moss Rose -- "Superior Merit"
China Rose -- "Grace"
White Rose -- "Sadness"
Yellow Rose -- "Infidelity"