A place for reflection and introspection, communication and thoughtful conversation.
Thursday, 14 February 2008
A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME
“Love is much like a wild rose, beautiful and calm, but willing to draw blood in its defence.” - Mark Overby
The Victorian era was a strange time. On the one hand prudishness ruled the day and on the other secret scandals rocked the nation, with even people of quite high social standing and fame implicated. Piano legs were covered as they were considered to be too suggestive, while wild shows of half naked women were rife, and prostitution (of even young girls) was commonplace. The hypocrisy of Victorian society was perhaps not better exemplified by the royal family of England itself. The widowed queen Victoria in black and perpetually grieving for her husband Albert, had a secret lover in her servant John Brown. Her son, Albert Edawrd, Prince of Wales was womanizer and bon-viveur whose name was rarely out of scandal sheets.
Is it surprising then that such an age developed a highly intricate form of communication for lovers in the form of a “secret” floral code. This is the Victorian Language of Flowers. One could compose a letter by simply arranging blooms in a bouquet and sending it to his or her romantic interest. The flowers were then identified and their meaning divined with the aid of a dictionary and the letter pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle.
Seeing it’s Valentine’s Day, here is the multitude of meanings that the rose can signify in the language of flowers:
Rose (red) - Love ; I love you Rose (white) - Eternal Love; innocence; heavenly; secrecy and silence Rose (pink) - Perfect happiness; please believe me Rose (yellow) - Friendship; jealousy; try to care Rose (black) - Death Rose (red and white) - Together; unity Rose (thornless) - Love at first sight Rose (single, full bloom) - I love you; I still love you Rose bud - Beauty and youth; a heart innocent of love Rose bud (red) - Pure and lovely Rose bud (white) - Girlhood Rosebud (moss) - Confessions of love Roses (bouquet of full bloom) - Gratitude Roses (garland or crown of) - Beware of virtue; reward of merit; crown ; symbol of superior merit Roses (musk cluster) - Charming Rose (tea) - I'll always remember Rose (cabbage) - Ambassador of love Rose (Christmas) - Tranquilize my anxiety; anxiety Rose (damask) - Brilliant complexion Rose (dark crimson) - Mourning Rose (hibiscus) - Delicate beauty Rose leaf - You may hope
As well as fresh bouquets of the appropriate flowers, young women often painted the blooms in delicate watercolours or embroidered them in fine coloured silks, so as to offer their sentiments to their beloved in a more lasting form. Many such fine items of Victoriana are now worth lots of money, even though their true significance may be deciphered by the few.
Victoriana |vikˌtôrēˈanə| plural noun Articles, esp. collectors' items, from the Victorian period. • matters or attitudes relating to or characteristic of this period. ORIGIN late 19th cent.: named after Queen Victoria of Great Britain (1819–1901).
I have been blogging daily on this platform for several years now. It is surprising that I have persisted as the world is changing and "microblogging" is now the norm. I blog to amuse myself, make comment on current affairs, externalise some of my creativity, keep notes on things that interest me, learn something new and to surprise myself with things that I discover about this wonderful, and sometimes crazy, world we live in.
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