Let me start off with a basket of chicken. The above quote’s from Edmund Spenser, the good old Sonnet XLII. Is this why Douglas Adams said the answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42? Do you make guacamole?
My backyard garden continues to surprise me with it’s bounty in unexpected places. Most recently a lovely white rose. The Victorians invented a bunch of repressed symbolic meanings, such as white rose as an allegory of innocence, which unfortunately, conceals that nasty thorn that pricks the finger of the unwary Victorian, who proceeds to get bright red blood on the pure white rose, which, unfortunately leads to impure thoughts about, um, well….
Before the white rose was defiled by the smut-minded Victorians, it was considered one of the symbols of the goddess Venus. She backed the Trojans in one of those endless wars in that neighborhood. In those days, the Trojans were the natives, surrounded by wily and deceitful invaders who eventually beat them by cheating and sold into slavery the ones she didn’t kill.
One of the myths of her creation is that Venus was born from “sea foam” (that’s what they were calling it then) or some nectar of the gods “accidentally spilled” into the sea (that’s what they called that then). It washed ashore where it watered a thorny bush that subsequently blossomed into white roses. That’s a much nicer story than the Victorians, don’t you think?
Who cares what the Victorians, the Greeks, or Douglas Adams thinks? I think the white rose makes a pretty cut flower. Here’s Spenser’s Sonnet XLII:
The loue which me so cruelly tormenteth,
So pleasing is in my extreamest paine:
that all the more my sorrow it augmenteth,
the more I loue and doe embrace my bane.
Ne doe I wish (for wishing were but vaine)
to be acquit fro my continuall smart:
but ioy her thrall for euer to remayne,
and yield for pledge my poore captyued hart
The which that it from her may neuer start,
let her, yf please her, bynd with adamant chayne:
and from all wandring loues which mote peruart,
his safe assurance strongly it restrayne.
Onely let her abstaine from cruelty,
and doe me not before my time to dy.