Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Monday, January 4, 2016

In A Vase on Monday - Totally Cheating!

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden hosts In a Vase on Monday each week.  Check out her blog to see her arrangement and links to those of other participating bloggers.  The idea is to bring cuttings from our gardens or scavenged from nearby indoors, arrange them in a container to enjoy and share.  I beg her forgiveness for not picking anything from my own garden this week.  Instead, the scavenging happened at a couple of grocery stores last month and the arranging is not at all imaginative.  To try and make up for that, I'm throwing in some poetry and links to a song or two.

Happy tenth day of Christmas!

First up are some red roses and white chrysanthemums left from our Winter Solstice anniversary.

One Perfect Rose - Dorothy Parker

A single flow'r he sent me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet--
One perfect rose.

I knew the language of the floweret;
"My fragile leaves," it said, "his heart enclose."
Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.

Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it's always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.

A Red, Red Rose - Robert Burns

O my Luve is like a red, red rose
   That's newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like a melody 
   That's sweetly played in tune.

So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
   So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
   Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
   And the rocks melt wi' the sun; 
I will love thee still, my dear,
   while the sands o' life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve!
   And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
    Though it were ten thousand mile. 

This choral setting by David Dickau will always be special to me as we sang this in the choral group in which we first met 28 years ago. 

Although James Mulholland's setting is also gorgeous

Eric William Barnum (local composer) set the poem for men's voices.  Love the close harmonies!

Last but certainly not least is a setting by René Clausen.

That Burns poem has been set many times.  The rose has served as inspiration and imagery for countless poems. 

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.
Sappho of Lesbos, c. 600 BC

From The Language of Flowers by Sheila Pickles:

"The rose is one of the oldest flowers known to man, and still one of the most popular.  Nebuchadnezzar used them to adorn his palace and in Persia, where they were grown for their perfume oil, the petals were used to fill the Sultan's mattress.  In Kashmier the Moghul emperors cultivated beautiful rose gardens and roses were strewn in the river to welcome them on their return home.  Roses later became synonymous with the worst excesses of the Roman empire - the peasants were reduced to growing roses instead of food crops in order to satisfy the demands of their rulers.  The emperors filled their swimming baths and fountains with rose water and sat on carpets of rese petals for their feasts and orgies.  Heliogabalus used to enjoy showering his guests with rose petals which tumbled down from the ceiling during the festivities.

The rose is the flower of love.  It was created by Chloris, the Greek goddess of flowers, (not the blogger,) out of the lifeless body of a nymph which she found one day in a clearing in the woods. She asked the help of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, who gave her beauty; Dionysus, the god of wine, added nectar to giver a sweet scent, and the three Graces gave her charm, brightness and joy. Then Zephyr, the West Wind, blew away the clouds so that Apollo, the sun god, could shine and make the flower bloom. And so the Rose was born and was immediately crowned Queen of the Flowers."

There's "The Spotless Rose" and  "There is No Rose of Such Virtue," in which Mary is a rose.  "Maria durch ein dornwald ging," a favorite German carol that tells of Mary, pregnant(unter ihren Herzen - under her heart) with Jesus,  walking through a wood of thorns which hadn't borne in seven long years.  As she passed, the thorns began wearing roses.

 Of course, there's "Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming" in which Jesus is a rose.

Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming From tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse's lineage coming As men of old have sung.
It came, a flower bright, Amid the cold of winter 
When half-gone was the night. 

 Isaiah 'twas foretold it, The Rose I have in mind: With Mary we behold it,
 The virgin mother kind. 
To show God's love aright She bore to men a Savior 
When half-gone was the night. 

This Flower, whose fragrance tender With sweetness fills the air,
 Dispels with glorious splendor The darkness everywhere.
 True man, yet very God, From sin and death He saves us
 And lightens every load.

Interesting article about this text/hymn here.

You're probably familiar with the Praetorius setting but if not:

Of course there's the gorgeous Hugo Distler setting:

And the  Jan Sandström arrangement

The other evening, on our way home from seeing Zoolights (post on that later this week) we stopped at a grocery store for something or other and I fell for these "Cherry Brandy" roses.  They seem so warm and happy!

Of late, I've enjoyed the combinations of other pieces/songs with "Lo, How a Rose," like this one where it's combined with the pop song, "The Rose".

Or here where Timothy Jon Tharaldson intersperses it with his beautiful setting of  "I See His Blood Upon the Rose."

 I see His Blood upon the Rose By Joseph Mary Plunkett  (1887–1916)

 I SEE his blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of his eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.

I see his face in every flower;
The thunder and the singing of the birds
Are but his voice—and carven by his power
Rocks are his written words.

All pathways by his feet are worn,
His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
His cross is every tree.

Bring Me A Rose in the Wintertime   by Ernie Sheldon

Bring me a rose in the wintertime,
When they're hard to find.
Bring me a rose in the wintertime,
I've got, roses on my mind.

For a rose is sweet,
Most anytime and yet.
Bring me a rose in the wintertime,
How easily we forget.

Bring me a friend when I'm all alone,
When they're hard to find.
Bring me a friend when I'm all alone,
I've got, friendship on my mind.

For a friend is sweet,
Most anytime and yet.
Bring me a friend when I'm all alone,
How easily we forget.

Bring me a smile when I'm far from home,
When they're hard to find.
Bring me a smile when I'm far from home,
I've got, smilin' on my mind.

For a smile is sweet,
Most anytime and yet.
Bring me a smile when I'm far from home,
How easily we forget.

Bring me peace when there's talk of war,
When it's hard to find.
Bring me peace when there's talk of war,
I've got, peace on my mind.

For peace is sweet,
Most anytime and yet.
Bring me peace when there's talk of war,
How easily we forget.

For a recording of this folk-style song by the Limeliters, look here

Go, lovely Rose     Edmund Waller

Go, lovely rose-
     Tell her that wastes her time and me,
     That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.

     Tell her that's young,
And shuns to have her graces spied,
     That hadst thou sprung
In deserts where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended died.

     Small is the worth 
Of beauty from the light retired;
     Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desired,
And not blush so to be admired.

     Then die-that she
The common fate of all things rare
     May read in thee;
How small a part of time they share
That are so wondrous sweet and fair!

Roger Quilter's solo vocal setting:

A choral setting by Eric Whitacre

A setting by Z. Randall Stroope

And of course one by Halsey Stevens

With all of that going through one's head every time (s)he looks at a rose, it's a wonder that there's now always a crowd standing around the floral displays.
This offering just scratches the surface of the literature surrounding this most popular flower.  Do you have a favorite rose poem, song, etc?

Arguably the most well-known in the English-speaking world is this from Bill Shakespeare:

"tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So romeo would, were he not romeo call'd
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.

Romeo and Juliet ActII, SceneII

Anyway, I got these here roses and stuck 'em in a vase with some water.

Hope your day is rosy!


  1. For one reason or another, I think a number of us are "cheating" with today's vase!

    1. Not a lot going on in my garden right now that hasn't already been thrown into a vase recently.

  2. You have gone above and beyond the call of duty: this is not Monday in a Vase so much as a history and music lessons! Will the garlic at the foot of the vase ward off evil spirits?

    1. I forgot that the garlic was on the kitchen counter. No wonder there haven't been any vampires around recently.

  3. I'd have snapped up those Cherry Brandy roses too. Is there a book on the use of the rose as a metaphor in literature and music? If not, you're half way there! (It seems as though I'm always thinking of second jobs for you...)

  4. I love the Robbie Burns poem, I grew up with that poetry (my mom was from Glasgow). Those two-tone roses are so pretty. Have you heard of Burns Night and piping in the haggis? I've always wanted to go to one. Nigel and I intended to go to Zoolights this Christmas break, but had a hard time getting up off the couch.

    1. I'd not heard of piping in the haggis before but found a video on Youtube after you mentioned it. Very interesting! The couch is a good place to be in the winter!

  5. I don't blame you for wanting to display the lovely roses, and I enjoyed seeing all your lovely poetry and song about the rose, it would take quite a while to listen to them all, Peter. Now I want summer to get here soon so I can enjoy some in my garden again.


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your thoughts.