Greece In Ancient Greece, (c. 600 BC) Sappho of Lesbos wrote:
"If Jove would give the leafy bowers A queen for all their world of flowers, The rose would be the choice of Jove, And blush the queen of every grove."
The Song of the Wild Rose Fairy
I am the queen whom everybody knows; I am the English Rose; As light and free as any Jenny Wren, As dear to Englishmen; As joyous as a Robin Redbreast's tune, I scent the air of June; My buds are rosy as a baby's cheek; I have one work to speak, One word which is my secret and my song, 'Tis "England, England, England" all day long.
Cicely Mary Barker, Flower Fairies of the Summer
Rome The Ancient Romans loved roses - I mean, one emperor literally showered his guests with rose petals tumbling from the ceiling when they arrived ... and rose petals were scattered everywhere else for, well, you know, ambience ... they filled their swimming baths with rose petals, fountains with rose-water and sat on carpets of rose petals. So excessive was their desire for rose petals that the peasants had to grow roses, instead of food, in order to satisfy the demand!
A heavenly image arises for me at the thought of surrounding Roman countryside, and indeed every nook and cranny in Rome, filled with blooming roses - the scent, the sight of roses, roses, roses everywhere and all destined to arrive at the palaces and temples! It must have been an amazing sight - of course, the plebs might not have been able to see it that way ... if they went hungry as a result! Hopefully, they managed to sneak in a few rose petal salads for themselves .... rich in Vitamin C you know.
England In front of cottages or row-homes, adorning doorways and walkways, lining stone walls down country lanes, climbing arbors and arches ... and of course, in many an ornamental rose garden at carefully preserved "stately homes"; the rose is England's national flower.
The little toy dog is covered with dust, But sturdy and staunch he stands; And the little toy solider is red with rust, And his musket moulds in his hands. Time was when the little toy dog was new, And the solider was passing fair; And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue Kissed them and put them there.
"Now, don't you go till I come," he said, "And don't you make any noise!" So, toddling off to his trundle-bed, He dreamt of the pretty toys; And, as he was dreaming, an angel song Awakened our Little Boy Blue -- Oh! the years are many, the years are long, But the little toy friends are true! Aye, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand, Each in the same old place -- Awaiting the touch of a little hand, The smile of a little face; And they wonder, as waiting the long years through In the dust of that little chair, What has become of our Little Boy Blue Since he kissed them and put them there.
This poem was written by Eugene Fields, An American poet, and in my opinion, is one of the most touching synopsis of childhood ever written.
A newspaper man in the late 1800s, he became called the "poet of childhood" in the early 1900s. I can sincerely say that I love every one of Eugene Fields' poems. Make sure you are in the right frame of mind before you read them though, because most of them will set you crying! Many of his poems don't contain such tragic subject matter, in fact most are very magical; but they all tug mercilessly at the heart-strings.
GIFs graciously provided by: animatedimages.org / R. Buchanan
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