[The ancient Latin name.]
"And first of all the rose; because its breath Is rich beyond the rest; and when it dies, It doth bequeath a charm to sweeten death."
The Rose has been a favorite flower from time immemorial among the civilized nations of Europe and Asia. The Rose, in its wild state, is found in almost every country in the temperate zones. We have a few species in New England, none of which have been taken in hand by the florist for improvement, but are suffered to remain in their wild state for the pleasure of the botanist.
This well-known and highly esteemed genus, embraces many distinct species, which, by the skill of the florist, have multiplied into thousands of varieties. They vary in height from one to twelve or fifteen feet, producing flowers, single, semi-double and double, and generally of exquisite fragrance. The colors are pure white, white-tinted, shaded, striped, or mottled; every shade of red to purple, and all these shades and colors variously mixed; also a few yellow varieties. There are no black Roses, although we sometimes hear of them. Such as are sold for Black Roses, are those of dark shades of purple or crimson. The foliage is also various in the different species or varieties, but of a general character. They differ also as to the appendages to the plant, some having formidable thorns, while others are entirely destitute. Some flower only once' in the season - others are perpetual, or everblooming. Most are hardy, but many require protection. It is a flower beloved by every one, not only in the present age, but has been in all ages past, and will, no doubt continue to be the most prominent and desirable flower as long as the world stands. It may, with propriety, be styled the Queen of Flowers. We have not space in this work to do justice to its merits, and must refer our readers, for the details of its culture, and for a mass of valuable and interesting particulars, to a work published by S. B. Parsons, Esq., of Flushing, N. Y., a volume of 280 pages, octavo, upon the Rose, which we heartily commend to all the lovers of this universal favorite. Mr. Parsons treats of it historically, poetically, and scientifically, as well as in a practical manner. We must, of course, say something of the Rose ourselves poetically, - for who can dwell long upon this beautiful flower without some aspirations of this kind? - but not having a faculty of soaring upon our own wings, we must cull from others, and finding in a work entitled "Flora Domestica" all we desire under this head, we give the following copious extracts, which may not be unacceptable to a portion of our readers at least:-
"The Rose is preeminently the flower of love and poetry, the very perfection of floral realities. Imagination may have flattered herself that her power could form a more perfect beauty; but, it is said, she never yet discovered such to mortal eyes. This, however, she would persuade us to be a mere matter of delicacy, and that she had the authority of Apollo for her secret success:-
- 'No mortal eye can reach the flowers,
And 't is right just, for well Apollo knows
'T would make the poet quarrel with the Rose.'
It is, however, determined, that until the claim of such veiled beauty, or beauties, shall rest upon better foundation, the Rose shall still be considered as the unrivalled Queen of flowers.
'I saw the sweetest flower wild nature yields, A fresh-blown Musk Rose.'
"It is said, however, that the angels possess a more beautiful kind of Rose than those we have on earth. David saw in a vision a number of angels pass by with gilded baskets in their hands.
'Some as they went, the blue eyed Violets strew, Some spotless Lilies in loose order threw; Some did the way with full-blown Roses spread, Their smell divine, and color strangely red; Not such as our dull gardens proudly wear, Whom weathers taint, and winds' rude kisses tear,
Such, I believe, was the first Rose's hue, Which at God's word in beauteous Eden grew; Queen of the flowers that made that orchard gay, The morning blushes of the spring's new day.' - Cowley.
"The Rose, as well as the Myrtle, is considered as sacred to the Goddess of beauty. Berkley, in his Utopia, describes the lover as declaring his passion by presenting to the fair-beloved a Rose-bud just beginning to open; if the lady accepted and wore the bud, she was supposed to favor his pretensions. As time increased the lover's affections, he followed up the first present by that of a half-blown Rose, which was again succeeded by one full-blown; and if the lady wore this last, she was considered as engaged for life.
"Poetry is lavish of Roses; it heaps them into beds, weaves them into crowns, twines them into arbors, forges them into chains, adorns with them the goblet used in the festivals of Bacchus, plants them in the bosom of beauty, - nay, not only delights to bring in the Rose itself upon every occasion, but seizes each particular beauty it possesses as an object of comparison with the loveliest works of nature:- as soft as a Rose-leaf; as sweet as a Rose; rosy clouds; rosy cheeks; rosy lips; rosy blushes; rosy dawns, etc., etc. It is commonly united with the Lily:-
' In the time that the morning did strew Roses and Violets on the heavenly floor against the coming of the sun.'
'A bed of Lilies flower upon her cheek, And in the midst was set a circling Rose.'