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From: "Alice Turner" <akt@ibm.net>
Subject: (urth) Belated Flowers
Date: Sun, 25 Jul 1999 10:00:31 

> >Mrs. Burke was obviously English, and the water hyacinth is a native
> >American plant, so she doesn't mention it. The water lily, however,
> >for "purity of heart," which also
> >pertains to Dorcas.The hyacinth itself, a quite different plant, is
> >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
> 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..."
> the sources I've seen list the hawthorn meaning as "hope". What do you
> of that?

Yes, I think Wolfe definitely has a book on flower language--Hy's name is
all too apt. Mrs. B. agrees that hawthorn is "hope," but I can't say what
the hedge means here. Here's a little personal anecdote on the nenuphar. I
have a delightful newish friend, born Turkish, whose name is Nilufer. I
asked her what it meant, and she told me "waterlily." Of course I thought
immediately of Wolfe's nenuphars and told her about them; she asked for some
backup (she's a lawyer!) and I sent her the following from the OED (as
mantis knows, I am all too proud of my OED CD, which allows me to paste
email in a trice). Nilufer and nenuphar are the same word.

nenuphar Also 6­8 -far, 6 -farre, 7 -fer (and erron. nune-, nemi-, nem-).
[a. med.L. nenuphar, -far (It. and Sp. nenufar, F. nénufar), ad. Arab.-Pers.
n_nufar,  n_lufar, Pers. also n_lufal, -pal, ad. Skr. n_lôtpala blue lotus,
f. n_l blue + utpala lotus, water-lily.]
1. A water-lily, esp. the common white or yellow species. In early use freq.
in oil, syrup, water of nenuphar.
1533 Elyot Cast. Helth (1534) 76 Syrope of violettes, nemipher, or the wine
of sweet pomegranates.
1563 T. Gale Antidotarie i. viii. 5 Among compoundes these are in vse,
butter, oile of roses, Violettes, Nenuphar, Popye.
1621 Burton Anat. Mel. ii. v. i. vi. (1651) 397 To refrigerate the face, by
washing it often with Rose, Violet, Nenuphar, Lettuce, Lovage waters and the
1612 Peacham Gentl. Exerc. iii. 162 Of Flowers you haue Roses, Gilliflowers,
Violets, Nenuphar, Lilly.
1725 Bradley Fam. Dict. s.v. Syrup, Syrup of Nenuphar, or Water-Lilly.
1759 tr. Adanson's Voy. Senegal in Pinkerton Voy. (1814) XVI. 631 The leaves
of the nenufar, or water-lilly.
1832 Lyell Princ. Geol. II. vi. 98 On these green isles of the
Mississippi,..the pistia and nenuphar display their yellow flowers.
1858 O. W. Holmes Aut. Breakf.-t. x. (1891) 250 The stream with..clustering
nenuphars Sprinkling its mirrored blue like golden-chaliced stars!
1874 A. O'Shaughnessy Music & Moonlight 14 Here and there great lakes of
nenuphar And lustrous lotos glimmered.
? b. petty nenuphar, applied by Turner (apparently) to the Marsh Marigold.
1548 Turner Names Herbs (E.D.S.) 26 It groweth in watery middowes with a
leafe like a water Rose, wherefore it may be called also Petie nunefar
2. Ent. (See quot.) rare1.
1852 T. W. Harris Insects New Eng. 66 A small beetle of the weevil tribe,
called Rhynchænus Nenuphar, the Nenuphar or plum-weevil.


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

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