Il n'est point de rose sans épines = Every rose has its thorn; No rose without a thorn.

sb. roseVariants: roose, rois, ross, (11 a. 6); rosen, pl. roosis Comb.: rose-reed, red as a roseEtymology: rov. rose; Latin rosa; cp. Anglo-Saxon róse
Under the rose: privately or secretly. The rose was, it is said, sacred to Harpocrates, the God of silence, and therefore frequently placed in the ceilings of rooms destined for the receiving of guests; implying, that whatever was transacted there, should not be made public.
 To Clear Rose Trees from Blight

Mix equal quantities of Sulphur and tobacco dust, and strew the mixture over the trees of a morning when the dew is on them. The insects will disappear in a few days. The trees should then be syringed with a decoction of elder leaves. 

No Fossil Rose

Professor Agassiz, in a lecture upon the trees of America, states a remarkable fact in regard to the family of the rose,—which includes among its varieties not only many of the most beautiful flowers, but also the richest fruits, as the apple, pear, peach, plum, apricot, cherry, strawberry, raspberry, &c.,—namely, that no fossil plants belonging to this family have ever been discovered by geologists ! This M. Agassiz regards as conclusive evidence that the introduction of this family of plants upon the earth was coeval with, or subsequent to, the creation of man, to whose comfort and happiness they seem especially designed by a wise Providence to contribute.

Emblem of youth and innocence With walls enclosed for my defence,And with no care opprest,I boldly spread my charms around,'Till some rude lover breaks the mound,And takes me to his breast.Here soon I sicken and decay:My beauty lost, I'm turned away,And thrown into the street;Where I despised, neglected lie,See no Samaritans pass by,But numerous insults meet.
A Rose.
Roses and Rose Culture

Roses are perhaps the most universally admired of all flowers, and few respond so well to the care of the cultivator. The earlier they are planted in the autumn (October 15th to November 15th) the better they will grow. Spring planting is fairly successful, provided the roots are kept moist when out of the ground. Time, April 15th to May 15th.

Roses enjoy deeply worked and fertile soil, and may be grown in specially prepared beds, or as borders. An open position, with a south or southeast exposure is preferable. Pruning should be done toward the end of March. When especially large blooms are desired, only one should be borne on each stem, the remainder of the buds being removed.

Desirable Varieties for the Rose Garden

Hybrid Perpetuals.—These produce handsome blooms in varied colors in the summer followed by a more or less bountiful supply in the autumn. Hardiest of the garden roses.

Varieties :

  • Frau Karl Druschki.—An ideal white rose.
  • Jacqueminot (Jack Rose).—Brilliant scarlet.
  • Paul Neyron.—Dark rose; largest of all.
  • Magna Charta.—Bright pink; a favorite.
  • George Arends.—Splendid soft pink.

Hybrid Teas.—These possess the freedom of growth of the foregoing with much of the delicacy of flowers for which Tea-scented Roses are admired. The most satisfactory for the general garden.

Varieties :

  • Robert Huey.—One of the largest bright reds.
  • The Lyon.—Deep coral pink verging on yellow.
  • White Killarney.—One of the best pure whites.
  • La France.—Clear, satiny pink.
  • Burbank.—Rich pink.
  • Richmond.—Brilliant crimson.

Tea and Noisettes.—Loveliness with profuseness are combined in this section. Much tenderer than the Hybrid Teas; sweet scented. The Noisette is an excellent climber for walls.

Varieties :

  • The Bride.—Pure white.
  • Perle des Jardins.—Beautiful rich yellow.
  • Papa Goutier.—Dark crimson.
  • William Allen Richardson.—Deep orange-yellow flowers.
  • Garland.—Semi-double, blush and white.
  • Longworth Rambler.—Splendid autumn climber; flowers, semi-double and crimson.

Hardy Climbers.—Popular and showy.

Varieties :

  • American Pillar.—Large, single, pink flowers.
  • Excelsa.—Finest of crimson ramblers.
  • Hiawatha.—Single, brilliant crimson.
  • Dorothy Perkins.—Soft shell-pink, fragrant.
  • Lady Gay.—Delicate cerise-pink which change to creamy white.
  • Wichmoss.—A “Moss” rose, light bluish-pink, fragrant.

Hybrid Briers.—Hardy semi-climbing roses.

Varieties :

  • Lord Penzance.—Beautiful contrasting shades.
  • Refulgence.—Dazzling scarlet, in clusters.
  • Juliet.—Rosy red with reverse petals of old gold.

The  “Baby Ramblers.”—Dwarf, “perpetual bloomers.”

Varieties :

  • Phyllis.—Beautiful pink.
  • Jessie.—Bright cherry-red, white center.
  • Orleans.—Brilliant red, white center.
  • Snowball.—White, free flowering.

Japanese and Chinese.

Varieties :

  • Blairii (China).—Vigorous climber for sunny walls; flowers, blush and rose.
  • Rugosa (Japanese).—No pruning is needed; flowers, white, rose and violet.

Garden Classification

The varieties of a plant are, by Botanists, designated by names intended to convey an idea of certain characteristics,—the form and consistency of the leaves, the arrangement, number, size, and color of the flowers, seed-vessels, etc. The varieties of roses, however, have so few distinct characteristics, that florists find it difficult to give any name expressive of the very slight shades of difference in the color or form of the flower. Fanciful names have therefore been chosen, indiscriminately, according to the taste of the grower; and we thus find classed, in brotherly nearness, Napoleon and Wellington, Queen Victoria and Louis Philippe, Othello and Wilberforce, with many others. Any half-dozen English or French rose growers may give the name of their favorite Wellington or Napoleon to a rose raised by each of them, and entirely different in form and color from the other five bearing the same name. Thus has arisen the great confusion in rose nomenclature.

A still greater difficulty and confusion, however, exists in the classification adopted by the various English and French rose growers. By these, classes are multiplied and roses placed in them without sufficient attention to their distinctive characters; these are subsequently changed to other classes, to the utter confusion of those who are really desirous of obtaining some knowledge of the respective varieties. Even Rivers, the most correct of them all, has in several catalogues the same rose in as many different classes, and his book may perhaps place it in another. He thus comments upon this constant change:

“Within the last ten years, how many plants have been named and unnamed, classed and re-classed!—Professor A. placing it here, and Dr. B. placing it there! I can almost imagine Dame Nature laughing in her sleeve, when our philosophers are thus puzzled. Well, so it is, in a measure, with roses; a variety has often equal claims to two classes. First impressions have perhaps placed it in one, and there rival amateurs should let it remain.”

If there exists, then, this doubt of the proper class to which many roses belong, we think it would be better to drop entirely this sub-classification, and adopt some more general heads, under one of which every rose can  be classed. It may often be difficult to ascertain whether a rose is a Damask, a Provence, or a Hybrid China; but there can be no difficulty in ascertaining whether it is dwarf or climbing, whether it blooms once or more in the year, and whether the leaves are rough as in the Remontants, or smooth as in the Bengals. We have therefore endeavored to simplify the old classification, and have placed all roses under three principal heads, viz:

I. Those that make distinct and separate periods of bloom throughout the season, as the Remontant Roses.

II. Those that bloom continually, without any temporary cessation, as the Bourbon, China, etc.

III. Those that bloom only once in the season, as the French and others.

Remontants.—The first of these divisions includes only the present Damask and Hybrid Perpetuals, and for these we know no term so expressive as the French Remontant. “Perpetual ” does not express their true character.

Everblooming Roses  is the name we give to those included under the second general head. This is divided into five classes:

1. The Bourbon , the varieties of which are easily known by their luxuriant growth, and thick, large, leathery leaves. These are, moreover, reasonably hardy.

2. The China .—This includes the present China, Tea, and Noisette Roses, which are now much confused, as there are many among the Teas which are not tea-scented, and among the Noisettes are those which do not bloom in clusters; they are, moreover, so much alike in their growth and habit, that it is better each should stand upon its own merits, and not on the characteristics of an imaginary class.

3. Musk.—Roses of this class are known by their rather rougher foliage.

4. Macartney.—The varieties of this are distinguished by their very rich, glossy, almost evergreen foliage.

5. Microphylla.—A class easily distinguished by their peculiar foliage and straggling habit.

The third general head we divide again into five classes:

1. Garden Roses.—This includes all the present French, Provence, Hybrid Provence, Hybrid China, Hybrid Bourbon, White, and Damask Roses, many of which, under the old arrangement, differ more from others in their own class than from many in another class.

2. Moss Roses , all of which are easily distinguished.

3. Brier Roses , which will include the Sweet-Brier, Hybrid Sweet-Brier, and Austrian Brier.

4. Scotch Roses.

5. Climbing Roses ; which are again divided into all the distinctive subdivisions.

In describing colors, we have given those which prevail. It is well known that many roses are very variable in this respect, and that the same flower will frequently be white or yellow, crimson or blush, at different periods of its bloom. We have seen a plant produce several flowers totally unlike each other; one being dark crimson, and the other pale blush. We therefore describe the prevailing  color, and the cultivator should not be disappointed if his rose, the first season, should not correspond with the description; neither should he be disappointed if a rose which we describe as very double should with him prove very single. Transplanting will often temporarily change the character of roses, and they often refuse to develop themselves perfectly under our hot sun, or in a poor soil. A second season is thus often required to test them fairly. We have seen the fine rose, La Reine, semi-double, and worthless at midsummer, while at other seasons, and perhaps in a different location, it is fully equal to its reputation. It is frequently the case, that roses imported from Europe, under glowing descriptions, prove worthless the first season, but fully sustain their character the second. We mention these things here, in order that the amateur may be prepared for any temporary disappointment that may occur. In describing over two hundred choice varieties, we have endeavored to select those whose character is well established for superior and distinct qualities, and above all, for vigorous growth. Any variety whose growth is uniformly weak has been at once rejected, notwithstanding its great beauty of flower. Thus many fine roses, like Gloire de Santenay, are thrown aside. There are many equally good that have been necessarily omitted, and there are also new varieties we have recently received from Europe, which may prove superior to many we have named.

From this list, the rose amateur may feel safe in selecting, without incurring the risk of obtaining inferior varieties.

Of Roses

To make sweet Bagges to lay Linnen in

Take Damask Rose  budds, pluck them, and dry the leaves in the shadow, the tops of Lavender  flowers, sweet Margerom, and Basill, of each a handfull, all dryed and mingled with the Rose  leaves, take also of Benjamin, Storax, Gallingall  roots, and Ireos  or Orris  roots, twice as much of the Orris as of any of the other, beaten in fine powder: a peece of cotten wool wetted in Rose -water, and put to it a good quantity of Musk  and Ambergreece  made into powder, and sprinkle them with some Civet  dissolved in Rose -water, lay the Cotten in double paper, and dry it over a chaffin dish of coales: Lastly, take halfe a handfull of Cloves, and as much Cinamon  bruised, not small beaten, mixe all these together, and put them up in your Bagge.

A very good Poultis for any Member swell'd and inflamed, and not broken, to take away the paine

Take three pints of new milk, of stale Manchet crums two handfulls, or so much as shall make the milk somewhat thick, and thereto put two handfulls of dryed red Rose  leaves, and three ounces of Oyle of Roses, boyle all these together to the thicknesse of a Poultisse, then let it stand and coole, and while it cooleth rake a spoonfull of Oyle of Roses, and with a warm hand rub the place grieved, till the Oyle be dryed in, and then lay the Poultisse as warm as you may endure it, to the part inflamed; doe this morning and evening for three or four dayes, as you shall see cause.

To make a sweet Cake, and with it a very sweet water

Take Damask Rose  leaves, Bay  leaves, Lavinder  tops, sweet Marjerome  tops, Ireos  powder, Damask powder, and a little Musk  first dissolved in sweet water, put the Rose  leaves and hearbs into a Bason, and sprinkle a quarter of a pint of Rose -water among them, and stirring them all together, cover the Bason close with a dish, and let them stand so covered, all night, in the morning Distill them, so shall you have at once an excellent sweet water, and a very fine sweet Cake to lay among your finest linnen.

Oyle of Roses

Take Sallet Oyle and put it into an earthen pot, then take Rose  leaves, clip off all the white, and bruise them a little, and put them into the Oyle, and then stop the top close with past, and set it into a boyling pot of water, and let it boyle one hour, then let it stand al one night upon hot embers, the next day take the Oyle, and straine it from the Rose  leaves, into a glasse, and put therein some fresh Rose  leaves, clipt as before, stop it, and set it in the Sun every day for a fortnight or three weeks.

Syrupe of Roses

Take Damask Roses, clip off the white of them, and take six ounces of them to every pint of faire water, first well boyled and scummed, let them stand so as abovesaid, twelve hours, as you doe in the Syrupe of Violets, wringing out the Roses  and putting in new eight times, then wringing out the last put in onely the juice of four ounces of Roses, so make it up as before, if you will put in Rubarb, take to every two drams, slice it, string it on a thred, hang it within the pot after the first shifting, and let it infuse within your Roses : Some use to boyle the Rubarb  in the Syrupe, but it is dangerous, the Syrupe purgeth Choller  and Melancholly.

A Conserve of Roses

Take red Rose  buds, clip of all the white, bruised, and withered from them, then weigh them out, and taking to every pound of Roses  three pound of Sugar, stamp the Roses  by themselves very small putting a little juice of Lemmons  or Rose  water to them as they wax dry, when you see the Roses  small enough, put the Sugar  to them, and beat them together till they be well mingled, then put it up in Gally pots or glasses; in like manner are the Conserverves of Flowers, of Violets, Cowslips, Marigolds, Sage, and Sea boise  made.

To Preserve Roses or any other Flowers

Take one pound of Roses, three pound of Sugar, one pint of Rose  water, or more, make your Syrupe first, and let it stand till it be cold, then take your Rose  leaves, having first clipt off all the white, put them into the cold Syrupe, then cover them, and set them on a soft fire, that they may but simper for two or three hours, then while they are hot put them into pots or glasses for your use.

How to Preserve Barbaries

First take the fairest Barbaries, and of them the greatest bunches you can get, and with a needle take out the stones on the one side of them, then weigh out to every halfe pound of them one pound of Sugar, put them into a Preserving pan, strow the Sugar  on them, and let them boyle a quarter of an hour softly, then taking out the Barbaries  let the Syrupe boyle a quarter of an hour more, then put in the Barbaries  againe, and let them boyle a pretty while with the Syrupe, then take them from the Syrupe, and let them both stand till they be cold, and so put them up.

To keep Barbaries to garnish your Meat

Take the worst of them, and boyle them in faire water, and straine the liquor from them, and while the liquor is hot put it into your Barbaries, being clean picked, and stop them up, and if they mould much, wash them throughly in the liquor, then boyle the liquor againe, and strayne it, and let it coole, then put it to your Barbaries  againe.

A Rose

Conserve of Barbaries

Take your Barbaries, pick them clean in faire branches, and wash them clean, and dry them on a cloath, then take some other Barbaries, and boyle them in Clarret  wine till they be very soft, then straine them, and rub them so well through the strainer, that you may know the substance of them, and boyle up this matter thus strained out, till it be very sweet, and somwhat thick, then setting it by till it be cold, and then put in your branches of Barbaries  into gally pots, or glasses, and fill it up with the cold Syrupe, and so shall you have both Syrupe, and also Barbaries, to use at your pleasure.

He Medical Properties of the Rose

We have hitherto viewed the Rose as the chief ornament of our gardens, and if we have found it abounding with charms of fragrance and beauty, we shall now find it occupying a prominent place in Materia Medica. Some authors have, with a degree of exaggeration, endeavored to make its medical as brilliant as its floral reputation. Rosenberg, in his work on the Rose, makes it a specific in every disease, and even attributes to it supernatural virtues.

In the opinion of most medical men, the medicinal properties of the Rose are about the same in all the kinds, while some writers assert that the Rosa Gallica  is superior to all others in a greater or less degree. We will mention those principally used in medicine, and the properties which are especially attributed to each.

The most valuable properties of the Rose reside in its petals, and in order to preserve these properties, it is highly essential that the petals should be quickly and perfectly dried. Those of the Provence Rose (Rosa Gallica ) have an astringent and somewhat bitter taste, and are tonic and astringent in their effects.

According to an analysis recently made in France, they contain, besides vegetable matter and essential oil, a portion of gallic acid, coloring matter, albumen, tannin, some salts, with a base of potash or of chalk, silex, and oxide of iron. A small dose in powder strengthens the stomach and assists digestion. Their prolonged use will sometimes cause a slight constipation of the bowels, while in a much stronger dose they act as purgatives.

The conserve  of the Provence Rose has much reputation in France for the treatment of all chronic affections of the bowels, caused by weakness and inactivity of the digestive organs; it is also employed in colic, in diarrhœa, in cases of hemorrhage and leucorrhœa.

The conserve of any variety of roses is considered excellent in cases of cold or catarrh. It is prepared by bruising in a mortar the petals with their weight in sugar, and moistening them with a little rose-water, until the whole forms a homogeneous mass. Some receipts prescribe powdered petals mixed with an equal part of sugar; others direct to use two layers of sugar, and only one layer of pulverized petals.

Opoix, a physician of Provence, states that the true Rose of Provence has a more sweet and penetrating fragrance than the same rose grown elsewhere, and even goes so far as to say that it has acquired properties which it does not possess in its native country, the Caucasus. On account of the supposed superior qualities of this rose, the citizens of Provence, in 1807, addressed a petition to government to encourage in their territory the cultivation of the true Provence Rose, by giving it the preference in all the hospitals and military dispensaries. This gave rise to a discussion between two French chemists, but without deciding the fact whether the Rosa Gallica  was superior in medical properties to any other rose. It seems to be acknowledged that those cultivated at Provence were superior to the same kind grown elsewhere, and this superiority is attributed by some to the presence of iron in the soil about that city. It was probably owing, also, to the very careful cultivation practiced there. The petals are used extensively in several medical preparations, as the sugar of roses, the ointment of roses, the treacle of roses, etc. Rose-water is, however, more extensively used in medicine than any other preparation of the rose. This water, when manufactured from Rosa Gallica, or any other of the section of Centifoliæ, is employed internally as an astringent, and is sometimes mixed with other medicines to destroy their disagreeable smell and taste. In external applications, it is used principally for affections of the eyes, either alone or with some ointment.

The alcoholic tincture of roses, or spirit of roses, before mentioned, which was formerly given as a stimulus in many cases, has now fallen very much into disuse, medical opinion being very much against the employment of any alcoholic medicines excepting in very rare cases.

The syrup of roses, manufactured from the pale or Damask Rose, is sometimes employed as a purgative, and was once highly esteemed and recommended as a mild laxative. It is now, however, scarcely considered purgative, and its laxative properties are probably owing in a great measure to the senna and other articles which enter into its preparation.

The electuary of roses, which is now no longer used, was also probably indebted for its medical qualities to the addition of scammony, a very strong purgative.

Vinegar of roses  is made by simply infusing dried rose-petals in the best distilled vinegar, to which they communicate their perfume. It is used for cooking and for the toilet, and for headaches, when applied in the same way as common vinegar. The ancients prepared this vinegar, and also the wine and oil of roses, which are no longer used.

Honey of roses  is made by beating up rose-petals with a very small portion of boiling water; the liquid, after being filtered, is boiled with honey. This is esteemed for sore throats, for ulcers in the mouth, and for anything that is benefited by the use of honey.

The fruit of the rose is said also to possess some astringent properties; the pulp of the fruit of the wild varieties, particularly of the dog rose, after being separated from the seeds and beaten up in a mortar with sugar, makes a sort of conserve, formerly known in medicine under the name of Cynorrhodon.

Children in the country sometimes eat these fruits after they have attained perfect maturity, and have been somewhat mellowed by the frost; they then lose their pungent taste, and become a little sweet. Belanger, a French writer, who traveled in Persia in 1825, found in that country a rose whose fruit was very agreeably flavored. The apple-bearing rose (R. villosa pomifera ) produces the largest fruit of all, and is the best adapted for preserving; but an English writer remarks that the fruit of R. systyla  and R. arvensis, although of a smaller size, bears a higher flavor than that of any other species. Rose-buds, like the fruit, are also frequently preserved in sugar, and pickled in vinegar. Tea is sometimes made of the leaves of the rose, which are also eaten readily by the domestic animals.

The ends of the young shoots of the sweet-brier, deprived of their bark and foliage, and cut into short pieces, are sometimes candied and sold by the confectioners.

The Dog Rose takes its name from the virtue which the ancients attributed to its root as a cure for hydrophobia. The heathen deities themselves, according to Pliny, revealed this marvelous property, in dream, to a mother whose son had been bitten by a dog affected with this terrible disease.

The excrescences frequently found on the branches of the Rose, and particularly on those of the wild varieties, known to druggists by the Arabic name of bédeguar, and which resemble in form a little bunch of moss, partake equally of the astringent properties of the Rose. These excrescences are caused by the puncture of a little insect, known to naturalists as the Cynips rosæ, and, occasionally, nearly the same effects are produced by other insects.

Botanical Classification

The Rose is a shrub or dwarf tree, with mostly deciduous foliage, and large, beautiful, and fragrant flowers. Its branches are slender, almost always armed with thorns, thinly furnished with leaves, which are alternate upon the stem. Its leaves are pinnate, and vary in color and character, from the rich, dark green, and somewhat rough leaf of La Reine, to the glossy smoothness and rich purple edge of Chromatella. The blossoms are variously arranged at the extremity of the newly formed branches. The calyx is single and tubular, swelling at its lower part, contracted at its opening, and divided at the edge into five lance-pointed divisions, which are whole or pinnatifid. The corolla is inserted at the mouth of the tube of the calyx, and is composed of five heart-shaped petals, which constitute the Rose in its single or natural state. The double blossoms are formed by the change of the stamens and pistils into petals or flower leaves, shorter than those of the corolla proper. The fruit or seed vessel, or hip, is formed by the tube of the calyx, which becomes plump and juicy, globular or oviform, having but one cell, and containing numerous small, one-seeded, dry fruits, which usually pass for seeds; these are oval or globular, and surrounded with a soft down. The wood is very hard and compact, and of fine grain; and if it could be procured of sufficient size, would serve as a substitute for box in many kinds of manufacture. The longevity of the Rose is, perhaps, greater than that of any other shrub. We recollect seeing a rose-tree near an old castle in Stoke Newington, England, the stem of which was of immense size, and indicated great age. “There is a rose-bush flourishing at the residence of A. Murray McIlvaine, near Bristol, (Penn.,) known to be more than a hundred years old. In the year 1742, there was a kitchen built, which encroached on the corner of the garden, and the masons laid the corner-stone with great care, saying ‘it was a pity to destroy so pretty a bush.' Since then, it has never failed to produce a profusion of roses, shedding around the most delicious of all perfumes. Sometimes it has climbed for years over the second-story windows, and then declined by degrees to the ordinary height. The fifth generation is now regaled with its sweets.”

The number of species known to the ancients was small, compared with the number now recognized by botanists. Pliny, with whom we find the most detail on this point, says that the most esteemed were those of Præneste and Pæstum, which were, perhaps, identical; those of Campania and Malta, of a bright red color, and having but twelve petals; the white roses of Heraclea, in Greece, and those of Alabande, which seem to be identical with R. centifolia. According to the Roman naturalist and to Theophrastus, they grew naturally on Mount Panga, and produced there very small flowers; yet the inhabitants of Philippi went there to obtain them, and the bushes on being transplanted, produced much improved and beautiful roses. Pliny speaks also of some other species, one whose flowers were single, another which he terms Spinola, and also that of Carthage, which bloomed in winter. Unfortunately, all that we find in his works on this subject is, generally, very obscure, and it is difficult to compare many he has described with those known at the present day.

Although there are no double wild roses known at the present day, either in Europe or in this country, yet, as other flowers have been found double in a wild state, it is not impossible that some of the ancient varieties bore double flowers in their native condition in the fields. Such may have been the Centifolias, mentioned by Pliny and Theophrastus, as growing upon Mount Panga, and those which, at a still earlier period, according to Herodotus, grew wild in Macedonia, near the ancient gardens of Midas.

The poverty in description which we have observed in ancient writings, and their comparatively small number of species, extends also to a much later day. In a little treatise published in France in 1536, and entitled De re Hortensis Libellus, there are but four species mentioned, and scarcely anything concerning their culture. An Italian work published in 1563 mentions only eight species. In the Florilegium  of Sweet, a folio volume printed at Frankfort in 1612, are ten very coarse representations of roses, but with no indication of their names.

In the Paradisus Terrestris  of Parkinson, a folio volume printed at London in 1629, some twenty-four kinds are mentioned. Some of them are represented by figures in wood, which are very coarse, and scarcely allow recognition of their species. In the Jardinier Hollandois, printed at Amsterdam in 1669, are found but fourteen species of roses, very vaguely described, with scarcely anything on culture.

The first work which treated of roses with any degree of method is that of La Quintyne, published at Paris in 1690, and yet its details of the different species and varieties do not occupy more than a page and a half, while twenty-one pages are given to the culture of tulips, and fifty to pinks. Though he describes two hundred and twenty-five varieties of pinks, and four hundred and thirteen tulips, he mentions only fourteen species and varieties of roses. For a century subsequent to the publication of La Quintyne's work, the Rose is very little mentioned, either in English or French works, and there is nothing to indicate the existence at that time of many species, two or three only being required for medicine and perfumery. Some of the English collections, however, numbered during that century some twenty-two distinct species, and a number of varieties. In 1762, Linnæus was acquainted with only fourteen species. In 1799, Wildenow, in his Species Plantarum, mentioned thirty-nine; and Persoon, a little later, reached forty-five species; De Candolle, in his Prodromus, published in 1825, increased the number to one hundred and forty-six; and Don, in 1832, makes two hundred and five species. If to these are added those which have been within fifteen years discovered in the Himalaya Mountains, and in other parts of the globe, the number will be greatly increased.

Many of those enumerated by Don should not, in truth, be considered distinct species, and quite a number are nothing more than varieties. In fact, roses are so liable to pass into each other, that botanists are now of the opinion that limits between many of those called species do not exist; a fact which was strongly suspected by Linnæus, when he said, “Species limitibus difficillime circumscribuntur, et forte natura non eos posuit.”

There is much confusion in the genus Rosa, and in the best arrangement there may be many, which, on close examination, would scarcely deserve the name of species. The best scientific work on the Rose is the “Monographia Rosarum,” by Dr. Lindley. This author, and Loudon, we shall follow entirely in our botanical classification. The latter enumerates several other works on the Rose, which are not within our reach.

The Rose is found in almost every part of the northern hemisphere, between the 19th and 70th degrees of latitude.

Captain Fremont, (now General Fremont) in his description of the prairies some five hundred miles west of St. Louis, says, “Everywhere the Rose is met with, and reminds us of cultivated gardens and civilization. It is scattered over the prairies in small bouquets, and, when glittering in the dews and waving in the pleasant breeze of the early morning, is the most beautiful of the prairie flowers.”

It is found from the mountains of Mexico to Hudson's Bay, from the coast of Barbary to Sweden, in Lapland and Siberia, from Spain to the Indies, China, and Kamschatka. “In Asia, half the species have been found; of the thirty-nine which it produces, eighteen are natives of the Russian dominions and the countries adjacent. Most of these are very similar to the European portion of the genus, and five are common to both Europe and Asia. Of the remainder, one, which is, perhaps, a distinct genus, has been discovered in Persia, fifteen in China, and two of the latter, with four others, in the north of India.”

We shall not here describe all the species mentioned by Lindley and Loudon; but only those which are the parents of our garden sorts. A large part of the species described by these authors cannot be found in any collection in this country; and, in fact, very few possess any interest except to the botanist. The descriptions here given are mainly abbreviated from those of Loudon.

General Remarks

The name of the Rose is very similar in most languages, but of its primitive derivation very little or nothing is known. It is rhodon  in Greek; rhos, in Celtic; rosa, in Latin, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian, and Polish; rose, in French, Saxon, and English; rosen, in German; roose, in Dutch; rhoshà, in Sclavonic; ros, in Irish; ruoze, in Bohemian; ouasrath, in Arabic; nisrin, in Turkish; chabhatzeleth, in Hebrew; and gul, in Persian. These are the various names by which the flower has been known from very early times, and a strong resemblance can be traced through all. The Latin name, rosa, also forms a component part of terms used to designate several other things.

The name of rosary  was given to a string of beads used in the Romish Church to represent a certain number of prayers; it was instituted about the year 667, but was not much used until Peter the Hermit excited the Christian nations to the Crusade, about 1096. Dominique, a Romish saint, established, in 1207, the brotherhood of the Rosary, and the festival of the Rose was instituted in 1571 by Pope Pius V., in thanksgiving for the victory gained by the Christians over the Turks at Lepante. Subsequent popes gave to that ceremony more éclat, and caused it to be established in Spain. The name of rosary was formerly also given to the vessel used in distilling rose-water. The Rose has also given the idea of new forms of beauty in architecture and the arts. A rose is sometimes sculptured in the centre of each face of a Corinthian capital. It is also frequently seen in iron castings for the banisters of the stone steps of a house, and it is sometimes displayed upon the pavement in front of some splendid mansion. This, however, is rare in the United States, although frequent in Europe.

Among all the imitations of the Rose, none can compare with those painted on glass, some of which can be found in the windows of celebrated European Cathedrals in Canterbury, Cologne, Milan, Rheims, St. Denis, and others. We can scarcely imagine anything more beautifully soft than these paintings on glass, as seen from the interior of a church, in the rich light of a glowing sunset; the Rose thus painted seems to possess all the freshness and beauty of the real flower.

The nave of the Cathedral of Paris, besides twenty-four large windows, is lighted by three others, large and magnificent, in the shape of a Rose, which are each forty feet in diameter. The paintings on glass which ornament these windows were executed in the 13th century, and still retain their fresh and bright colors: that over the grand entrance represents the signs of the zodiac, and the agricultural labors of each month.

In heraldry, the rose frequently forms part of a shield, in full bloom, with a bud in the centre, and with five points to imitate thorns; it is an emblem of beauty and of nobility acquired with difficulty.

The Golden Rose was considered so honorable a present, that none but monarchs were worthy to receive it.

In the 11th century, the Pope introduced the custom of blessing a golden Rose, which he presented to some church, or to some prince or princess, as an especial mark of his favor.

In 1096, the Pope Urban II. gave a Golden Rose to the Comte d'Anjou. Alexander III. sent one to Louis, King of France, in acknowledgment of the attentions of that prince during the Pope's visit to France, as stated in a letter which he wrote the King.

“In accordance with the custom of our ancestors, in carrying a rose of gold in their hands on Dimanche Lætare, we do not think we can present it to one who merits it more than yourself, from your devotion to the Church and to ourselves.”

Pope John, in 1415, sent the Golden Rose to the Emperor Sigismund. Martin V., in 1418, sent another to the same prince. Pius II., in 1461, sent one to Thomas Paleologue, Emperor of Constantinople. Henry VIII., of England, before his separation from the Church of Rome, received the Golden Rose twice; the first from Julius II., and the second from Leo X.; and in 1842, the Pope's Nuncio Capaccini presented it to Donna Maria, Queen of Portugal. Isabella, Queen of Spain, was presented with it a few years since.

The public ceremony of blessing the Rose was not instituted until 1366, by Urban V.: that pontiff, wishing to give a particular mark of his esteem to Joanna, Queen of Sicily, solemnly blessed a Golden Rose, which he sent her, and made at the same time a decree, that a similar one should be consecrated every year. For fifty or sixty years, the Pope gave the Rose to princes who came to Rome; and it was the custom to give 500 louis to the officer who carried it for the Pope. The Rose, in its intrinsic value, was, however, sometimes worth double that sum.

We have thus given all the information we have been able to collect respecting the history of the Rose.

We shall feel abundantly gratified if the facts and anecdotes we have cited shall tend to enhance the already growing interest in this flower; and by thus connecting it with the lore of antiquity, cast around it a bright halo of pleasant associations.

Among the various riches of the garden, there are many flowers of great attractions: some we admire for their beautiful forms, others for their brilliant colors, and others again for their delightful fragrance; and we scarcely know which to pronounce the most pleasing. But whatever may be our feelings of admiration for these beautiful flowers, a desire for something still more beautiful draws us to the Rose, and compels us to pronounce it superior to all its rivals. It is the Rose alone that never fatigues, that always exhibits some new beauty, and that is never affected by fashion; for while Dahlias and other flowers have had their hour of favor, and have passed out of notice, the Rose has been a favorite for some three thousand years, and is still the first and most beautiful,—the chef d'œuvre  of the vegetable kingdom.

The Rose is rendered a favorite by many pleasant associations. It has been the cherished flower of the ancient poets, and with modern poets it has lost none of its charms, but is still apostrophized and made an object of frequent comparison. With the ancients, it was, as we have seen, the ornament of their festivals, their altars, and their tombs: it was the emblem of beauty, youth, modesty, and innocence, and was full of tender sentiment and pleasant images. A French writer, in a somewhat more extravagant vein of laudation, says, “Its name alone gives birth in all sensible minds to a crowd of pleasant thoughts, while, at the same time, it excites a sensation of the most delightful pleasures, and the most sweet enjoyments.” The name of “Queen of Flowers,” has been given to the Rose, almost from time immemorial; but this name is particularly applicable to the R. centifolia  and the hybrids from it. Yet the little, modest wild rose, found only in woods and hedges, adorns the solitude where it grows, and possesses for many a charm not surpassed by that of any of the cultivated varieties: its regularly formed corolla, of a soft and delicate color, combines in its simplicity many an attraction not found in the most beautiful flowers of the garden; and late in the season, when the fields are stripped of their verdure, the landscape is enlivened by the bright appearance of its red, coral-like fruit.

The beauty of the Rose has preserved it and its reputation for many ages. The most populous nations, the largest cities, the most wealthy and powerful kingdoms, have disappeared from the earth, or have been involved in the revolutions and subversions of empires, while a simple flower has escaped them all, and still remains to tell its story. It has seen a hundred generations succeed each other, and pass away; it has traveled through ages without changing its destiny or losing its character: the homage rendered and the love borne it have been always the same: now, as in the earliest periods of the world's history, it is decreed the first place in the floral kingdom. In these days, as in those of antiquity, it is par excellence, the Queen of Flowers, because it is always the most beautiful, and because no other flower can furnish half its charms. To elegance and beauty of form it unites the freshness and brilliance of the most agreeable colors, and, as if nature had showered upon it all her most precious gifts, it adds to its other qualities a delightful perfume, which alone would suffice to entitle it to a distinguished place among the beautiful and pleasant things of the vegetable kingdom.

Luxurious Use of the Rose

The ancients possessed, at a very early period, the luxury of roses, and the Romans brought it to perfection by covering with beds of these flowers the couches whereon their guests were placed, and even the tables which were used for banquets;[1] while some emperors went so far as to scatter them in the halls of their palaces. At Rome, they were, at one time, brought from Egypt in that part of the year when Italy could not produce them; but afterwards, in order to render these luxuries more easily attainable during the winter by the leaders of the ton  in that capital city of the world's empire, their gardeners found the means of producing, in green-houses warmed by means of pipes filled with hot water, an artificial temperature, which kept roses and lilies in bloom until the last of the year. Seneca declaimed, with a show of ridicule, against these improvements;[2] but, without being discouraged by the reasoning of the philosopher, the Romans carried their green-houses to such perfection that, at length, during the reign of Domitian, when the Egyptians thought to pay him a splendid compliment in honor of his birthday, by sending him roses in the midst of winter, their present excited nothing but ridicule and disdain, so abundant had winter roses become at Rome by the efforts of art. Few of the Latin poets have been more celebrated for their epigrammatic wit than Martial; and his epigram “To Cæsar, on the Winter Roses,” serves to show that the culture of roses at Rome was carried to such perfection as to make the attempts of foreign competitors subjects only for ridicule.

“The ambitious inhabitants of the land watered by the Nile have sent thee, O Cæsar, the roses of winter, as a present valuable for its novelty. But the boatman of Memphis will laugh at the gardens of Pharaoh as soon as he has taken one step in thy capital city—for the spring, in its charms, and the flowers in their fragrance and beauty, equal the glory of the fields of Pæstum. Wherever he wanders or casts his eyes, every street is brilliant with garlands of roses. And thou, O Nile, must now yield to the fogs of Rome. Send us thy harvests, and we will send thee roses.”

By this passage it is evident that the cultivation of Roses among the ancients was much farther advanced than is generally supposed. In another epigram Martial speaks again of roses, which were formerly seen only in the spring, but which, in his time, had become common during the winter. We are, also, but copyists of the Romans in the cultivation of flowers in windows; for vases of every style of beauty, and filled with roses, were a frequent ornament of their windows. Martial says that a miserly patron had made him a present of a very small estate, and adds that he has a much better country place in his window. Much that illustrates the use which the ancients made of roses in their ceremonies, in their festivals, and in their domestic life, may be found in various authors, evincing still more how very common the use of them had become. Florus relates that Antiochus, king of Syria, being encamped in the island of Eubœa, under woven tents of silk and gold, was not only accompanied by a band of musicians, but that he might yet more enhance his pleasures, he wished to procure roses; and although it was in the midst of winter, he caused them to be collected from every quarter.

The gallants of Rome were in the habit of presenting their favorite damsels with the first roses that appeared in spring; and “Mea rosa ” was an affectionate expression they often used to their betrothed.

We frequently find in old Latin authors an entire abandonment to pleasure and excessive luxury, signified by such expressions as “living in the midst of roses,” “sleeping on roses,” etc. (“Vivere in rosa,” “dormire in rosa.”)

Seneca speaks of Smyndiride, the most wealthy and voluptuous of the Sybarites, who could not sleep if a single one of the rose-petals with which his bed was spread, happened to be curled.

Cicero, in his “De finibus,” alludes to the custom which prevailed at Rome at that time, of reclining at the table on couches covered with roses; and comparing the happiness which virtue gives to the pleasures of luxury says, that “Regulus, in his chains, was more happy than Thorius drinking on a couch of roses, and living in such a manner that one could scarcely imagine any rare and exquisite pleasure of which he did not partake.”

The same author, in his celebrated speech against Verres, the greatest extortioner whose name is recorded in history, reproached him not only with the outrageous robberies and cruelties which he committed during the three years that he was governor of Sicily, but yet more with his effeminacy and licentiousness. “When spring commenced,” said the Roman orator, “that season was not announced to him by the return of Zephyr, nor by the appearance of any heavenly sign; it was not until he had seen the roses bloom that spring was visible to his voluptuous eye. In the voyages which he made across the province, he was accustomed, after the example of the kings of Bithynia, to be carried in a litter borne by eight men, in which he reposed, softly extended upon cushions made of transparent material, and filled with roses of Malta, having in his hand a net of the finest linen, and equally full of these flowers, whose fragrance incessantly gratified his eager nostrils.”

Latinus Pacatus, in his eulogium on the Emperor Theodosius, inveighs against the luxury of the Romans, whose sensual desires, he says, were not satisfied until they had reversed the order of the seasons, and produced roses in the winter season to crown their cup of wine, and until their Falernian, during the summer, was cooled in large vessels filled with ice. The forcing of roses in winter is no longer extensively practiced in Rome; but during the summer they are abundant, and we recollect being much struck with admiration of some beautiful hedges of the Daily rose in the villas near Rome.

After reading the preceding statements of the abundance of roses among the ancient Romans, it is with some surprise that we recollect the great scarcity of that flower during the gayest and most animated festival of the modern Romans—the Carnival. As we slowly walked along the Corso, submitting with as quiet a grace as possible to the various fantastic tricks of the masked figures around us, and occasionally pelted with handfuls of sugar-plums from the windows, or passing carriages, we looked in vain for roses or camellias in the numerous bouquets that were cleaving the air around us. Little bouquets of violets were numerous, and the air was thick with them, as our eyes, nose, and mouth, could bear striking witness; and we recollect, too, the contemptuous curl of the lip, and rush of the aristocratic blood into the face of a fair English girl in one of the carriages whose blue eyes had been nearly closed by an awkward cast of one of these little bouquets from the hand of a plebian performer. But we only recollect catching a glimpse now and then of a single  rose or camellia, skillfully passed by a cavalier below into the hands of some dark-eyed beauty in the balconies above, the bright sparkle of whose eye convinced us that the single flower was of value, and a mark of especial regard. The Rose appeared to be valued as some rare exotic, and not to be idly bestowed where there was small probability of its due appreciation; it was, indeed, a “rara flora in urbe,” and quite superseded by the very pretty and abundant violets.

The modern Romans have not only lost many of the good qualities of their early ancestors, but they have also escaped much of the effeminate softness which characterized the Romans under some of the later emperors; and, as belonging to this state of luxury, the cultivation of the Rose has, in modern times, been much neglected. The homage of the Romans is now reserved for art, and the beautiful products of nature are, in their opinion, worthy only of secondary consideration. The Rose is now mostly confined in that city to the residences of the wealthier classes, and can scarcely be said to have resumed its old place in Roman esteem until it is again a favorite with the mass of the people.

When Cleopatra went into Cilicia to meet Mark Antony, she gave him, for several successive days, festivals in which she displayed a truly royal magnificence. She caused to be placed in the banqueting hall twelve couches, each of which would hold three guests. The walls were covered with purple tapestry, interwoven with gold; all the vases were of gold, admirably executed, and enriched with precious stones.

On the fourth day, the queen carried her sumptuousness so far as to pay a talent (about six hundred dollars) for a quantity of roses, with which she caused the floor of the hall to be covered to the depth of eighteen inches. These flowers were retained by a very fine net, in order that the guests might walk over them.

After the loss of the battle of Actium, Antony, not wishing to survive his defeat, from fear of falling into the hands of Augustus, thrust himself through with his sword, and requested Cleopatra to scatter perfumes over his tomb, and to cover it with roses.

The greatest profusion of roses mentioned in ancient history, and which is scarcely credible, is that which Suetonius attributes to Nero. This author says, that at a fête which the emperor gave in the Gulf of Baiæ, when inns were established on the banks, and ladies of distinction played the part of hostesses, the expense incurred for roses alone was more than four millions of sesterces—about $100,000. Since Nero, many of his successors have nearly equaled him in prodigal enjoyment of the luxury of roses. Lucius Aurelius Verus, whose licentiousness and destitution of every manly quality equaled that of the worst emperors, but whom no one reproaches with any act of cruelty, was the inventor of a new species of luxury. He had a couch made on which were four raised cushions, closed on all sides by a very thin net, and filled with leaves of roses. Heliogabalus, celebrated for luxury and vice of every kind, caused roses to be crushed with the kernels of the pine (Pinus maritima), in order to increase the perfume. The same emperor caused roses to be scattered over the couches, the halls, and even the porticoes of the palace, and he renewed this profusion with flowers of every kind—lilies, violets, hyacinths, narcissus, etc. Gallien, another equally cruel and luxurious prince, lay, according to some authors, under arbors of roses; and, according to others, on beds covered with these flowers. And finally, Carrius, another licentious and prodigal emperor, who reigned only a few months caused roses to be scattered over the chambers of his palace, and on the couches of his guests.


“Tempora subtilius pinguntur tecta coronis,Et latent injecta splendida mensa Rosa.” (Ovid , lib. v.)


“Non vivunt contra naturam, qui hieme concupiscunt Rosam?Fomentoque aquarum calentium, et calorum apta imitatione, bruma lilium florem vernum, exprimunt.” (Seneca, epistle 122-8.)

The Early History of the Rose, and Fables Respecting Its Origin

Very little is known of the early history of the Rose, or who were its first cultivators; and on this point all is conjecture. Mention of it is made in the ancient Coptic manuscripts, while nothing concerning it can be distinguished, with any degree of certainty, on the Egyptian monuments which are left us. Bocastre, the French traveler, observes that he carefully searched all the monuments in Egypt, and could find neither sculpture nor painting, figure nor hieroglyphic, that would lead us to suppose that the Rose was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians. We are, however, induced to believe that this beautiful flower was known to them, from the fact that several varieties are now found in Egypt. Dr. Delile, Director of the Botanic Garden at Montpelier, and with whom we enjoyed some pleasant intercourse during a visit to that place, was with Napoleon in his expedition to Egypt. In his valuable published account of that expedition, he mentions that he found there two Roses—Rosa alba, and Rosa centifolia ; and there is also reason to believe, that under Domitian the Egyptians cultivated another—Rosa bifera. It is quite probable that the Rose was planted in the celebrated gardens of Babylon, the formation of which is attributed to Semiramis, about 1200 years before the Christian era; and it also appears probable, from the testimony of modern travelers, that several kinds of roses crossed over into Persia.

It is very certain that the Rose was cultivated by the Jews during the reign of Solomon, about two centuries after Semiramis; for mention of this flower is made in the Scripture books attributed to that king. In the Song of Solomon, he says: “I am the Rose of Sharon, and the Lily of the valleys;” and in the Apocryphal Wisdom of Solomon—“Let us crown ourselves with rose-buds before they be withered.”

It also appears, by several passages of the Book of Ecclesiasticus, the author of which lived about 700 years after Solomon, that the Jews possessed beautiful gardens of roses, particularly at Jericho. “I was exalted like a palm-tree in Engaddi, and as a rose-plant in Jericho:” xxiv. 14. “Hearken unto me, ye holy children, and bud forth as a rose growing by the brook of the field:” xxxix. 13. “And as the flower of roses in the spring of the year:” l. 8. These passages prove that this most fertile and beautiful portion of Palestine abounded in roses, palms, and cedars. They no longer however, abound; for while “the cedars wave on Lebanon,” and the solitary palm stands in its isolated beauty, the Rose has entirely disappeared; and that now called the Rose of Jericho is but a little plant of the family of Cruciferæ. The Greeks cultivated the Rose at an early period, during the time of Homer, who lived about 200 years after the wise Hebrew monarch. In the Iliad and Odyssey he borrows the brilliant colors of the Rose to paint the rising of the sun. Aurora, according to this poet, has fingers of roses, and perfumes the air with roses. Few poets are more celebrated than Homer for beauty of conception, and for his frequent similes borrowed from natural objects. His selection, in this instance, evinces that the Rose was neither an unknown nor an unadmired flower. Herodotus, who lived about 400 years before the Christian era, mentions that in Macedonia, in the gardens which were supposed to have belonged to Midas, there were roses of sixty petals, which grew spontaneously without culture, and emitted a most delightful perfume.

Ancient writings are full of allusions to the Rose, and fabulous accounts of its origin. From its brilliant colors, melting into each other as the shades of night melt into the glowing richness of the rising sun, it was frequently consecrated to Aurora. It was also consecrated to Harpocrates, the patron of Silence, of which it was considered the symbol. Thus the expression, “sub rosa ” (under the Rose), signified that all that was said should remain secret; and there is scarcely used a more expressive device for a seal than the simple figure of a Rose. It was the custom, in some of the northern countries, to suspend a Rose over the table in the dining-room, reminding the guests that silence should be observed respecting all that might be said during the meal.

Anacreon, Bion, Theocritus, Apollodorus, and others, relate various fables respecting its origin, and its obtaining the bright color for which it is distinguished.

One fable relates that Flora, having found the dead body of one of her favorite nymphs, whose beauty could only be equaled by her virtue, implored the assistance of all the Olympian deities to aid her in changing it into a flower, which all others should acknowledge to be their queen. Apollo lent the vivifying power of his beams, Bacchus bathed it in nectar, Vertumnus gave its perfume, Pomona its fruit, and Flora herself gave its diadem of flowers. A beetle is often represented on antique gems as expiring, surrounded by roses; and this is supposed to be an emblem of luxurious enervation; the beetle being said to have such an antipathy to roses, that the smell of them will cause its death.

From the earliest period the Greeks gave to the Rose the preference over all other plants, and distinguished it as the “Queen of Flowers.” In the fragments which still exist of Sappho, who lived about 600 years before the Christian era, there are lines in which the Rose is placed in the highest rank.

Since Sappho, many poets, both ancient and modern, have celebrated in their songs the charming qualities of the Rose. They have chosen it for an emblem of the most beautiful things—for the most pleasing and delightful comparisons; and they have united in making it the symbol of innocence, of modesty, of grace, and of beauty. Quite a volume might be collected of all the verses and pleasant sentences that have been inspired by the elegant form of the Rose, its charming color, and delightful fragrance. Some of these we have inserted in another part of the work. Nothing proves better the preference which has always existed for this beautiful flower than the thoughts expressed by Sappho. Anacreon and the other poets of antiquity have since imitated her in almost every language, and the lines of these have sacrificed nothing of her elegance and freshness.

The poets and writers of the East have abundantly celebrated in their works the beauties of the Rose. According to the Boun-Dehesch, of Zoroaster, the stem of that flower was free from thorns until the entrance of Ahrimanus (the evil one) into the world; the universal spirit of evil, according to their doctrine, affecting not only man, but also the inferior animals, and even the very trees and plants. The same work states that every flower is appropriated to a particular angel, and that the hundred-leaved Rose (Rosa centifolia ) is consecrated to an archangel of the highest order. Basil, one of the early fathers, had undoubtedly seen these passages in oriental works, when he related that at the creation of the world the Rose had no thorns, and that it was gradually furnished with them as mankind became more corrupt.

The oriental writers also represent the nightingale as sighing for the love of the Rose; and many beautiful stanzas have arisen from this fable. According to the Language of Flowers ; “In a curious fragment by the celebrated Persian poet, Attar, entitled Bulbul Nameh, the Book of the Nightingale, all the birds appear before Solomon, and charge the nightingale with disturbing their rest by the broken and plaintive strains which he warbles forth all the night in a sort of frenzy and intoxication. The nightingale is summoned, questioned, and acquitted by the wise king; because the bird assures him that his vehement love for the Rose drives him to distraction, and causes him to break forth into those passionate and touching complaints which are laid to his charge.” The same work also mentions that the Persians assert that “the nightingale, in spring, flutters around the rose-bushes, uttering incessant complaints, till, overpowered by the strong scent, he drops stupefied on the ground.” The invention of these fables, extravagant as they are, evince the Persian fondness for this beautiful flower. The Ghebers, or Persian fire-worshipers, believe that Abraham was thrown into the fire by Nimrod, when the flame turned into a bed of roses. According to the Hindoo mythology, Pagoda Siri, one of the wives of Vishnu, was found in a rose.

Among the many stories of roses in the East, is that of the philosopher Zeb, related by Madame de Latour. “There was at Amadan, in Persia, an academy with the following rules: Its members must think much, write a little, and be as silent as possible. The learned Zeb, celebrated through all the East, learning that there was a vacancy in the academy, endeavored to obtain it, but arrived, unfortunately, too late. The academy was annoyed because it had given to power what belonged to merit; and the president, not knowing how to express a refusal without mortifying the assembly, caused a cup to be brought, which he filled so full of water, that a single drop more would have made it run over. The wise philosopher understood by that emblem that no place remained for him, and was retiring sadly, when he perceived a rose petal at his feet. At that sight he took courage, seized the petal, and placed it so delicately on the water, that not a single drop escaped. At this ingenious allusion to the rules of the academy, the whole assembly clapped their hands, and the philosopher was admitted as a member.” Madame de Genlis relates very nearly the same anecdote, but attributes it to Abdul-kadri, a person celebrated among the Turks, who was desirous of residing at Babylon, where they were unwilling to receive him.

The Turks themselves, matter-of-fact as they are, have also seen something marvelous in the beautiful and vivid tints which the hand of nature has painted on the corolla of the Rose; but their imagination, less glowing than that of the Greeks, furnished them an idea more singular than pleasing. They suppose that the Rose owed its origin to the perspiration which fell from Mahomet; for which reason they never tread upon a rose-leaf, or suffer one to lie on the ground.

Meshilu, the Turkish poet, speaks of “a pavilion of roses as the seat of pleasure raised in the garden;” of “roses like the bright cheeks of beautiful maidens;” of the time when “the plants were sick, and the rose-bud hung its thoughtful head on its bosom;” and of the “dew, as it falls, being changed into rose-water.” They also sculpture a rose on the tombstone of a female who dies unmarried.

The early Roman Catholics have made the Rose the subject of various miraculous events, one of which is attributed to the canonized Elizabeth, Queen of Hungary. As the French author, Montalembert, relates it in his history of that Queen, Elizabeth loved to carry to the poor herself, by stealth, not only money, but even food, and other things which she had provided for them. She went thus loaded, and on foot, by the steep and hidden paths which led from the chateau to the town, and to the cottages in the neighboring valleys. One day, when, accompanied by her favorite maid, she was descending by a rough and scarcely visible path, carrying under her cloak some bread, meat, eggs, and other food, for distribution among the poor, she was suddenly met by her husband, who was returning from the chase. Astonished to see her thus bending under the weight of her burden, he said to her, “Let me see what you are carrying.” At the same time he threw open the cloak, which she held, with terror, to her breast, but found, as the legend says, nothing there but some white and red roses, the most beautiful he had ever seen.

D'Orbessan, in his work on the Rose, states, that in the church of Sainte-Luzanne, at Rome, is a mosaic of the time of Charlemagne, in which that prince is represented in a square mantle, and on his knees, while St. Peter is placing in his hands a standard covered with roses.

Michaud, in his Biographie Universelle, speaks of Clemence Isaure, a French lady, who lived in the latter part of the fifteenth century. She bequeathed to the academy of Toulouse a large income, exclusively for the celebration of floral games, and for the distribution of five prizes for as many pieces of poetry. The prizes consisted of an amaranth and rose of gold, and of a violet, marigold, and lily, of silver. The will also required that every three years, on the day of the commencement of the floral games, among other ceremonies to be observed, the members of the academy should visit and spread flowers upon her tomb. Ronsard, the French poet, having gained the first prize in the floral games, received, in place of the accustomed rose, a silver image of Minerva. Mary, Queen of Scots, was so much delighted with Ronsard's beautiful poetry on the Rose, that she sent him a magnificent rose of silver, valued at £500, with this inscription:—“A. Ronsard. l'Apollon de la source des Muses.

The Rose, in Ceremonies and Festivals, and in the Adornment of Burial-Places

Among the ancients, the Rose was conspicuous in all the sacred ceremonies, and in public and private fêtes. The Greeks and the Romans surrounded the statues of Venus, of Hebe, and of Flora, with garlands of roses. They were lavish of these flowers at the festivals of Flora; in those of Juno, at Argos, the statue of the Olympian Queen was crowned with lilies and roses. In the festivals of Hymen, at Athens, the youth of both sexes, crowned with roses and adorned with flowers, mingled in dances which were intended to represent the innocence of primeval times. At Rome, in the public rejoicings, they sometimes strewed the streets with roses and other flowers. It is thus that Lucretius gives a description of the manner in which were celebrated the festivals of Cybele.[1]

To scatter flowers on the passage of the funeral procession of a private citizen was an honor not common at Rome. Pliny informs us, however, that a Scipio, belonging to the illustrious family of that name, who while he was tribune, fulfilled his duties to the satisfaction of the people, dying without leaving sufficient to pay his funeral expenses, the people voluntarily contributed to pay them, and on the appearance of the body, cast flowers upon its passage.

At Baiæ, when fêtes were given upon the water, the whole surface of the lake of Lucina appeared covered with roses.

The custom of encircling the head, of surrounding the neck, and also the breast, with crowns and garlands of roses, on different occasions, and particularly during the last days of a gay festival, when, after the solid dishes, they passed to the dessert and the rare wines, is well known by the odes of Anacreon, and from the writings of several of the ancient poets.

The voluptuous Horace, when he abandoned himself to pleasures, was always supplied with roses. In congratulating one of his friends on his safe return from Spain, he recommended that these flowers should not be wanting at the festival. On another occasion, he told his favorite servant that he cordially disliked the pompous displays of the Persians, and escaped them by searching in what place the late Rose was found. Drawing a picture of luxurious ease for his friend Hirpinus, he speaks of “lying under the shade of a lofty Plane or Pine tree, perfuming our spotless hair with Assyrian spikenard, and crowning ourselves with roses.” We can very well judge how general had become the custom of making crowns of roses, from the number of times which it is mentioned in Pliny, and the frequency with which Martial speaks of it in his epigrams. The latter author also informs us, that in the very height of Roman luxury and revealing, the most favorable time for soliciting and obtaining a favor was when the patron was entirely given up to the pleasures of the table and of roses.[2]

Whatever doubt may exist of the use of crowns of roses, as objects of luxury, it is well authenticated, that among medical men of antiquity, endeavors were made to determine what kinds of flowers were suitable to place in crowns without detriment to health; and according to the report made on this subject, the parsley, the ivy, the myrtle, and the Rose, possessed peculiar virtues for dissipating the fumes of the wine. According to Athenæus, a crown of roses possessed not only the property of alleviating pain in the head, but had a very refreshing effect.

Pliny mentions two Greek physicians—Mnesitheus and Callimachus,—who wrote on this subject.

The custom of crowning with roses had passed from the Greeks to the Romans, and it also existed among the Hebrews, who had probably borrowed it from some of the neighboring nations, either from the Egyptians, in the midst of whom they had spent many years, or from the Babylonians, with whom they had in the captivity much connection. The practice of this custom among the Israelites is attested by the previously quoted passage, in the apocryphal “Wisdom of Solomon.”

At Rome it was not only at the religious festivals that they crowned themselves with roses and other flowers, but it was the custom to wear these crowns during public and private fêtes; they were strictly forbidden at some other times, and above all on certain public occasions, where to appear with such an ornament would pass for an insult to a public calamity. Pliny informs us, that during the second Punic war, which lasted sixteen years, a banker named Lucius Fulvius, for looking from his gallery on the Forum, and wearing a crown of roses on his head, was, by order of the Senate, sent to prison, from which he was not liberated until the end of the war.

This anecdote, moreover, proves that crowns of roses were in fashion at Rome at an early period, and before licentiousness and luxury had yet made many inroads upon the national character.

It may readily be supposed, that at Rome, under the emperors, the use of crowns of flowers was, like every other species of luxury at that time, constantly on the increase. At first they wore the crowns interwoven with leaves of flowers, then they wore them composed partly of roses, and finally they were not satisfied unless they consisted of these flowers only.

Martial, as we have already mentioned, speaks often of his crowns of roses. The crown sent by this poet to his friend Sabinus was composed entirely of these flowers, and he was desirous that they should be considered the production of his own gardens.

From the poverty of Turkish history, little is known of the early use of the Rose among them. We have, however, some account of its use among the Mohammedan Persians.

Although wine was forbidden by the laws of Mahomet, the Persians frequently made use of it; and in the time of Tavernier and of Chardin, they frequently drank it to excess. One of their kings, Soliman III., was intoxicated almost every day; and it was the custom then in Persia, to serve the wine in crystal decanters, which, when the season permitted, they corked with roses.

The most interesting purpose to which roses were devoted was the adornment of tombs and burial-places. The Greeks employed generally for this object, the myrtle and the amaranth; but the Romans gave the preference to the lily, the saffron-plant, and, above all, the Rose.

The ancients were careful to renew the plants which were placed around the sepulchral urn, in order that it might be surrounded by a continual spring. These flowers were regarded as sacred, and as a relic of the deceased.

The Romans considered this pious care so agreeable to the spirits of the departed, that wealthy citizens bequeathed by will entire gardens, to be reserved for furnishing their tombs with flowers. They also often ordered that their heirs, or those to whom they left a legacy for the care of their ashes, should meet together every year, on the anniversary of their death, and dine near their tomb, scattering roses about the place. This custom is attested by several stories of ancient Roman tombs. One with an ancient inscription was found at Ravenna, and others in some other parts of Italy.

D'Orbessan, in his “Essai sur les Roses,” mentions having seen, at Torcello, a city about five miles from Venice, an inscription of this kind, mentioning a donation made by an emancipated slave to the assembly of the Centum, consisting of gardens and a building to be employed in celebrating his obsequies and those of his master. It requested that roses should not be spared, and that food should be then distributed in abundance. Generally, the donation made on condition of covering the funeral monument with roses was transferred to another, if that condition was not fulfilled. Sometimes the most terrible maledictions threatened those who dared to violate these sacred gardens. That which proves how frequent among the Romans was this custom of ornamenting tombs with roses is, that those who were not rich enough to make such bequests often directed to be engraved upon the stone which covered their remains a request to the passers-by to scatter roses upon their tomb. Some of these stones still exist, with the following inscription: “Sparge, precor, Rosas supra mea busta, viator.” It was, perhaps, because they compared the short duration of human life to the quick fading existence of the Rose, that this flower was devoted to the burial-place of the dead; and there can certainly be chosen no more beautiful emblem of this transitory state of existence. This supposition is somewhat strengthened by the following passage from Jerome, one of the early Christian fathers:

“The ancients scattered roses over the urns of the deceased, and in their wills ordered that these flowers should adorn their graves, and should be renewed every year. It was also the custom for husbands to cast roses, violets, and lilies, on the urns which enclosed the ashes of their wives. These modest flowers were emblematic signs of their grief. Our Christians were content to place a Rose among the ornaments of their graves, as the image of life.”

In Turkey, females that died unmarried had a rose sculptured at the top of their monument.

At the well-known cemetery of Père la Chaise, which has often excited the ecstasy, admiration, or praise of many travelers, but which in reality exhibits neither elegance, sentiment, nor taste, wreaths of roses and other flowers are frequently seen upon the thickly crowded tombs, either as mementos of affection, or in compliance with a popular custom; while the street leading to the cemetery is filled with shops in which are exposed for sale the wreaths of flowers.

The prevalence of the same custom in Denmark is alluded to by Shakespeare, in Hamlet, in the scene of Ophelia's burial.

The custom still remains also in America and Great Britain. In Wales, when a young girl dies, her female companions bring flowers with them to her funeral, and place them in her coffin. They plant lilies and snow-drops over the graves of children, and wild and cultivated roses over those of adults.

Gwillym, a Welsh poet, thus speaks of the custom in one of his elegies:—“Oh! while the season of flowers and the tender sprays, thick of leaves, remain, I will pluck the roses from the brakes, to be offered to the memory of a child of fairest fame; humbly will I lay them on the grave of Ivor.”

Evelyn tells us that “the white rose was planted at the grave of a virgin, and her chaplet was tied with white riband, in token of her spotless innocence; though sometimes black ribands were intermingled, to bespeak the grief of the survivors. The red rose was occasionally used in remembrance of such as had been remarkable for their benevolence; but roses in general were appropriated to the graves of lovers.”

Drummond, the Scotch poet, requested one of his friends to have the following couplet placed over his grave:

“Here Damon lies, whose songs did sometimes grace The murmuring Esk:—may roses shade the place.”

The first Christians disapproved of the use of these flowers, either at their festivals or as ornaments for their tombs, on account of its connection with the pagan mythology, and the custom thus became extinct. Tertullian wrote a book against crowns and garlands. Clement of Alexandria thought it improper that Christians should crown themselves with roses. A little later, however, Christians relaxed from this strictness, and the Christian poet Prudence did not fear to invite his brethren “to cover with violets and with verdure, and to surround with perfumes those bones which the voice of the All-Powerful would one day restore to life.”

The Roman Catholics of this day admit flowers to their churches and ceremonies, and on feast days they adorn the altars with bouquets and garlands. At the most imposing of these solemnities, the day of the “Fête-Dieu,” rose petals, during the procession, are scattered in the air, and blended with the perfume of censers, directed towards the Host; in many of the towns, particularly those in the south of France and of Europe, the streets through which the procession passes are scattered throughout with fragrant herbs and flowers of every kind.

Since the extinction of paganism in a greater part of the world, the custom of wearing crowns of flowers at festivals has passed entirely away. Women only use roses as an ornament for their hair, or employ them in different parts of their toilet. In our own country the toilet of a bride is never considered perfect unless she wears a wreath of roses or other flowers, whose snow-white hue is an emblem of her departing maidenhood. Sometimes she is provided only with a bouquet of white roses and camellias, and her bridesmaids wear similar ornaments of nature's manufacture.

The Rose is abundantly used by children in their beautiful celebration of May-day. We well recollect our enjoyment of one of these scenes some years since. We were returning from a ride in the vicinity of Charleston, S.C., on the first day of this, the sunniest of the months of spring—a day dedicated not to the spirit of motion, and celebrated not by processions of furniture carts, amid the bustle and noise of a populous city, but dedicated there, at the sunny South, to innocent and joyous festivity, and celebrated amid all the fresh and fragrant luxuriance of southern vegetation, surrounded by the delicate sweetness of the magnolia, the Rose, and other flowers, while the mocking-bird, with its sweet and varied note, was the minstrel for the occasion. Riding quietly along the road, we were suddenly stopped by a procession which had just dismounted from a number of carriages in a beautiful grove hard by. It consisted mostly of noble-looking boys and beautiful girls, of all ages under fourteen, the latter dressed in white and crowned with wreaths of roses and other flowers. The manly attention of the boys to the fair creatures with whom they walked hand in hand would not have disgraced the gallantry of Bayard, or the politeness of Chesterfield. As the procession wound slowly from our view, under the shade of the lofty live oak and the rich magnolia, we could not help reflecting how beautiful was this graceful enjoyment of the sunny days of childhood, and how preferable to the mental excitement and precocious training of many of the infant philosophers of this most enlightened nineteenth century.

It is much to be regretted that in circles where fashion reigns supreme, nature is gradually giving way to art, and instead of the fresh and natural beauty of a newly gathered Rose, various forms of artificial flowers are found upon the center table, or in the hair of those whose quick discernment and refined taste should lead them to perceive the great inferiority of these artificial toys to the delicate beauty and welcome fragrance of a Rose just from its parent plant.

Very much additional matter could be inserted respecting the early history of the Rose, and its connection with ancient superstitions. Sufficient, however, has been given to show the esteem in which the Rose was held by the ancient Greeks and Romans.


“Ergo cum primum, magnas invecta per urbes Munificat tacita mortales muta salute;Ære atque argento, sternunt iter omne viarum.Largifica stipe dilantes, ninguntque Rosarum Floribus, umbrantes matrem comitumque catervas.”Lucretius , lib. ii., ver. 625.


“Hæc hora est tua, dum furit Lyæus Cum regnat Rosa, cum madent capilli,Tunc me vel rigidi legant Catones.”Lib. x., epig. 19.

The Rose in the Middle Ages

In Great Britain, according to Loudon, “one of the earliest notices of the Rose occurs in Chaucer, who wrote early in the 13th century; and in the beginning of the 15th century, there is evidence of the Rose having been cultivated for commercial purposes, and of the water distilled from it being used to give a flavor to a variety of dishes, and to wash the hands at meals—a custom still preserved in some of the colleges, and also in many of the public halls within the city of London.”

In 1402, Sir William Clopton granted to Thomas Smyth a piece of ground called Dokmedwe, in Haustede, for the annual payment of a rose to Sir William and his heirs, in lieu of all services. The demand for roses formerly was so great, that bushels of them were frequently paid by vassals to their lords, both in England and France. The single rose, paid as an acknowledgment, was the diminutive representation of a bushel of roses—as a single peppercorn, which is still a reserved rent, represents a pound of peppercorns—a payment originally of some worth, but descending by degrees to a mere formality. Among the new-year gifts presented to Queen Mary in 1556, was a bottle of rose-water; and in 1570 we find, among the items in the account of a dinner of Lord Leicester, when he was Chancellor of the University of Oxford, three ounces of rose-water. In an account of a grant of a great part of Ely House, Holborne, by the Bishop of Ely, to Christopher Hatton, for twenty-one years, the tenant covenants to pay, on midsummer-day, a red rose for the gate-house and garden, and for the ground (fourteen acres) ten loads of hay and £10 per annum; the Bishop reserving to himself and successors free access through the gate-house, for walking in the gardens and gathering twenty bushels of roses yearly. In 1597, we find Gerard speaking of the Damask rose of Damascus and the Cinnamon rose as common in English gardens. Hakluyt says that the rose of Damascus was brought to England by De Linaker, physician to Henry IX.; and his successor, Sir Richard Weston, who wrote in 1645, says, “We have red roses from France.” In the reign of James I., the keeper of the robes and jewels at Whitehall, among a variety of other offices, had separate salaries allowed him, “for fire to air the hot-houses, 40s. by the year;” and, “for digging and setting of roses, in the spring gardens, 40s. by the year.”

It would seem, by these incidents, that previous to the seventeenth century, roses were far from being abundant, and indeed were so rare, that a bottle of distilled water was a fit present for Royalty, and a few roses an amply sufficient rent for house and land.

In the times of chivalry, the Rose was often an emblem that knights were fond of placing in their helmet or shield, implying that sweetness should always be the companion of courage, and that beauty was the only prize worthy of valor. It was not, however, always taken for such emblems, nor did it always bring to mind pleasant and agreeable images, but was often the signal for bloodshed in a desolating civil war which raged in England for more than thirty years.

The rival factions of the White  and the Red  Rose arose in 1452, during the reign of Henry VI., between the houses of Lancaster and of York. The Duke of York, a descendant of Edward III., claimed that his house possessed a nearer title to the crown than the reigning branch. He adopted a white  rose on his shield, for his device, and the reigning monarch, Henry VI., of the house of Lancaster, carried the red rose. After several furious civil wars, after having flooded the whole kingdom with blood, and after the tragical death of three kings, Henry VII., of the house of Lancaster, re-united, in 1486, the two families by marrying Elizabeth, the heiress of the house of York.

The adoption of the red rose, by the house of Lancaster, was at a period far prior to these civil wars. About 1277, the Count of Egmont, son of the King of England, and who had taken the title of Count of Champagne, was sent by the King of France to Provence, with some troops, to avenge the murder of William Pentecôte, mayor of the city, who had been killed in an insurrection.

When this prince returned into England, after executing his orders, he took for his device the red rose, that Thibaut, Count of Brie and of Champagne, had brought from Syria, on his return from the crusade some years before.—That Count of Egmont was the head of the house of Lancaster, who preserved the red rose on their arms, while the house of York, on the other hand, adopted the white rose as their device.

An anecdote is told of the Prince of Bearne, afterwards Henry IV. of France, who was not 15 years of age when Charles IX. came to Nerac, in 1566, to visit the court of Navarre.

The fifteen days that he spent there were marked by sports and fêtes, of which the young Henry was already the chief ornament. Charles IX. loved to practice archery; in providing for him that amusement, they thought that none of his courtiers, not even the Duke of Guise, who excelled at this sport, would venture to prove himself more adroit than the monarch. The young Henry, however, advanced, and at the first shot, carried off the orange, which served for a mark. According to the rules of the sport, be wished, as victor, to shoot first in the next trial; the King opposed it, and repulsed him with warmth; Henry stepped back a little, drew his bow, and directed the arrow against the breast of his adversary; the monarch quickly took shelter behind the largest of his courtiers, and requested them to take away “that dangerous little cousin.” Peace being made, the same sport was continued on the following day; Charles found an excuse for not coming. This time the Duke of Guise carried away the orange, which he split in two, and no other could be found for a mark.

The young prince perceived a Rose in the bosom of a young girl among the spectators, and seizing it, quickly placed it on the mark. The Duke shot first, and missed; Henry succeeding him, placed his arrow in the middle of the flower, and returned it to the pretty villager with the victorious arrow which had pierced it.

At Salency, a village of France, the Rose is the reward of excellent traits of character; they attribute the origin of the fête of La Rosière, in that country, to Medard, bishop of Noyon, who lived at the end of the fifteenth, and beginning of the sixteenth century, during the reign of Clovis. That bishop, who was also Lord of Salency, had established a fund, giving a sum of twenty-five livres (five dollars), and a crown or hat of roses, to the young girl on his estate who enjoyed the greatest reputation for amiability and excellence of character. Tradition states that the prelate himself gave this desired prize to one of his sisters, whom the public voice had named to be Rosière. Before the revolution of 1789, there could be seen, beneath the altar of the chapel of St. Medard, at Salency, a tablet, where that bishop was represented in pontifical dress, and placing a crown of roses on the head of his sister, who was on her knees, with her hair dressed.

The bishop had set aside, on a part of his domain, since called the “Manor of the Rose,” an annual rent of twenty-five livres, at that time a considerable sum, for paying all the expenses of this ceremony. It is stated that Louis XIII., being at the chateau of Varennes, near Salency, about the time of this ceremony, was desirous of adding to its éclat  by his personal presence; but finding himself indisposed, he sent to La Rosière, by a marquis of rank and first captain of his guards, a ring and his blue ribbon. “Go,” said he to the marquis, “and present this riband to her who shall be crowned. It has been long the prize of honor; it shall now become the reward of virtue.” Since that time La Rosière has received a ring, and she and her companions have worn the blue ribbon.

The Lord of Salency at one time enjoyed the right of choosing La Rosière from three of the village girls, who were presented by the inhabitants. But in 1773 a new lord, who purchased the estate of Salency, wished to take away the right enjoyed by the inhabitants, of naming and presenting to him the three candidates for the Rose. He assumed the nomination of La Rosière, without any assembling, election, or presentation, and suppressed entirely the pomp and ceremonies which until that time had always been observed. On the complaint of the inhabitants of Salency, the Court of Chancery at once set aside the pretensions of their lord; but he, not wishing to yield them, instituted a civil process before the Parliament of Paris, which gave a decree in favor of the inhabitants of the place, by which it confirmed to them all the ancient customs of the fête of La Rosière, of which the Lord of Salency was ordered to pay all the expenses.

The ceremony of La Rosière was suppressed during the excesses of the Revolution, but was reëstablished when the times had become more quiet. The celebration takes place in June, and would be well worthy the attendance of foreign travelers.

We have mentioned this custom very much in detail, as it is one of the few ceremonies still existing, in which the Rose occupies a prominent position, and is made alone the reward of merit. Other festivals of the Rose, similar to those of Salency, were established in several other villages of France and the neighboring countries. When Louis XVIII. was staying at Blakenbourg, in Germany, during the years of his exile, he was invited to assist at a festival of La Rosière. When he had placed the crown on the head of the young girl who was designated as the most virtuous, she said to him, ingenuously, “My Prince, may your  crown be restored you.”

There exists a touching custom in the valley of Engadine, in Switzerland. If a man accused of a crime is able to justify himself the same day on which he is liberated from prison, a young and beautiful girl offers him a white rose, called the Rose of Innocence.

It is somewhat singular that, although the Rose was in these instances employed as the emblem of virtue and innocence, it has been considered, at other times and places, as a sign of disgrace and dishonor.

The synod held at Nismes, about the year 1284, ordered the Jews to wear on their breast a rose, to distinguish them from Christians, in order that they might not receive the same attentions. At one time, in certain German provinces, a crown of red roses was the punishment of immorality.

It appears that, in the Middle Ages, roses were much more abundantly cultivated in certain provinces than they have been since; for the following passage is found in Marchangy's History of France in the 14th century: “For the ornament of certain festivals, they cultivate, in the vicinity of Rouen, fields of flowers of several rods: and the annual sale of bouquets and wreaths of roses is valued at 50,000 francs. The business of maker of wreaths, and that of rose merchant, is in France very common and very profitable. The above sum will not seem surprising, when we think of the enormous consumption of rose-water at that time. In all family parties, companies, and associations, many bouquets were presented; at table, during festivals, they crowned themselves with flowers, and scattered them on the table-cloth and the floor.”

The Marquis de Chesnel, in his History of the Rose, mentions that, among the old customs of Auvergne, Anjou, Tours, Lodunois, and Maine, there was one in the noble families, that a father who had sons, frequently gave to his daughters, on their marriage, only a wreath of roses. In Normandy, also, the daughters received, for their legitimate portion, a hat adorned with the same flowers. Among the ancient seigneurial rights in France, in the 14th century, was one by which each tenant was obliged to furnish a bushel of roses for the manufacture of rose-water for the lord of the soil. Madame de Genlis mentions, however, that about the same period, every one was not allowed to cultivate these flowers; but permission to do so was granted to privileged persons. Whether it was ever a royal monopoly she does not state; but it would certainly be no more singular than the monopoly of the sale of butter by the King of Naples.

We have already mentioned the wars of the White and Red Rose, which during so long a time deluged England with blood. There is also an instance in French history, where this flower, associated as it is with innocence and pleasant thoughts, served, under the reign of Charles VI., as the rallying sign of the faction of Burgundy against that of Armagnac. The Parisians, urged by the agents of the Duke of Burgundy, established the order of St. André for their partisans, in order to manage them more easily; and the church of St. Eustache was chosen as their rendezvous. Each church member wore a crown of red roses, of which more than seven hundred were made in the space of twelve hours, and the flowers were sufficiently abundant to perfume the whole church.

According to an ancient custom, the dukes and peers of France were formerly obliged to present roses to the Parliament of Paris, at certain periods of its session. The peer who was chosen to do the honors of this ceremony caused all the chambers of Parliament to be scattered with roses, flowers, and fragrant herbs; and entertained at a splendid breakfast the presidents, councilors, and even the notaries and door-keepers of the court. He afterwards went into each chamber, accompanied by a page with a large silver basin, which contained as many bouquets of roses and other flowers as there were public officers, with an equal number of crowns composed of the same flowers. The Parliament also had its cultivator of roses, called the Rosièr de la Cour, from whom the peers could obtain the roses for their presents.

Under the reign of Francis I., in 1541, there was a dispute between the Duc de Montpensier and the Duc de Nevers respecting the presentage of the roses to Parliament. It was decided that the Duc de Montpensier, from his rank as prince of the blood, should be entitled to the first presentage. Among the princes of the royal family who submitted to this ceremony at later periods, are numbered the dukes of Vendome, Beaumont, Angouleme, and several other distinguished names. Henry IV., while only King of Navarre, proved to the procureur-general that neither he nor his predecessors had ever failed to perform that duty.

About the year 1631, there was published a very curious book on the Rose, by a German named Rosenberg. About 250 octavo pages are devoted entirely to the praise of the curative properties of the Rose in almost every known disease, making, in fact, this flower a universal panacea for the many ills to which flesh is heir. The author also claims for it supernatural qualities, particularly for driving away evil spirits. The work closes by asserting, as a positive fact, supported by several authorities which he quotes, the remarkable regeneration or resurrection of the Rose. He gives also the process of this reproduction, which is scarcely worth inserting here, being, like the story of the Phœnix, a fable engendered by superstition upon ignorance. It is somewhat surprising that this fable should have been very gravely reproduced, in a French work on the Rose, published in 1800. The author states that, “notwithstanding the many marvelous things which we already know respecting the improving, forcing, changing, and multiplying of roses, we have yet to describe the most surprising of all—that of its regeneration; or, in other words, the manner of reproducing that flower from its own ashes. This is called the imperial secret, because the Emperor Ferdinand III. purchased it of a foreign chemist, at a very high price.” The conclusion is a rather amusing instance of Munchausenism in the 19th century. “Finally, all this material being placed in a glass vessel, with a certain quantity of pure dew, forms a blue powder, from which, when heat is applied, there springs a stem, leaves, and flowers, and a whole and perfect plant is formed from its own ashes.”

It is difficult to credit the fact that, in any part of this enlightened age, an author could be found who would gravely and in sincerity advance such opinions and state such facts as the above; and it is but an additional proof, if such were wanting, that nothing can be advanced too monstrous or too incredible to be entirely without believers.

If the sight of roses, or their delicate fragrance, has been generally delightful and pleasing, there have also been those who could not endure them. Anne of Austria, wife of Louis XIII., of France, although otherwise very fond of perfumes, had such an antipathy to the rose, that she could not bear the sight of one even in a painting. The Duke of Guise had a still stronger dislike, for he always made his escape at the sight of a rose. Dr. Ladelius mentions a man who was obliged to become a recluse, and dared not leave his house, during the season of roses; because, if he happened to imbibe their fragrance, he was immediately seized with a violent cold in his head.

The odor of the rose, like that of many other flowers, has often occasioned serious injury, particularly in closed apartments; and persons to whose sensitive organizations the odor is disagreeable should not sleep with them in the chamber. Some authors of credibility mention instances of death caused by a large quantity of roses being left during the night in a sleeping apartment.