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From: "Roy C. Lackey" <rclackey@stic.net>
Subject: (urth) Re: Belated Flowers
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 1999 23:48:58 


    Thanks for taking an interest in the subject. And, as I said, there's a
lot more of it in the NEW SUN books, more than is commonly realized, else
someone would have written about it before. The flower references are
everywhere. Your Mrs. Burke seems to be largely in agreement with the
sources I used. The meanings that I listed for any particular flower were,
when possible, those for which I found agreement in more than one source,
but the meanings sometimes varied with both time and place. Most of the
interest in the language of flowers seems to have been in Western Europe and
never caught on well in the Americas.

>Mrs. Burke was obviously English, and the water hyacinth is a native
>American plant, so she doesn't mention it. The water lily, however, stands
>for "purity of heart," which also
>pertains to Dorcas.The hyacinth itself, a quite different plant, is "sport,
>game, play."

    The hyacinth matches up well with Silk's Hyacinth. Regarding the water
lily: that is the shape of the boat ("shaped like the wide flower of the
nenuphar") in which Severian and Jolenta had their little tryst in the
gardens of the House Absolute. The color is not specified. Depending on the
variety and color of lily the boat was meant to look like, the meanings
range from: white= modesty and purity; yellow= falsehood; water lily=
eloquence; day lily= coquetry; to yellow day lily= gaiety. On their way to
the little river they "passed through a hawthorn hedge whose spotted white
blossoms seemed from a distance to present an insurmountable barrier..." All
the sources I've seen list the hawthorn meaning as "hope". What do you make
of that?

>Mrs. B. agrees with the above. But I must admit I am suprised. What does
>make of Keats's "Isabella, or the Pot of Basil?"

    Oddly enough, after your Shakespearean garden post, I looked in
Bartlett's, which lead me to that poem, but what a severed head watered with
tears in a pot of basil may mean eludes me.


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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