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Victorians were well known for their love of symbolism. A proper lady's affections were always held in check, as she was expected to be timid and demure. Their social norms were highly proprietary. They seldom verbalized as we do today, and likewise expected those who courted them to portray their sentiments in other ways. One of their favorite ways to do so was in the presentation of flowers, roses in particular. Old rugosa roses were a mainstay of Victorian life, displayed with grandeur in their eclectic parlours. While the rose has been hybridized to perfection in today's life, the symbolism associated with each rose color still holds true today.
Overall, the rose has always portrayed the virtue of "Love", and the unique hue or color of each individual rose was further extrapolated to associate the giver's emotion and heartfelt yearnings.
White rosebuds were a favorite of young girls, and did indeed indicate the virtue of their "Girlhood". The thornless rose often bespoke "An Early Attachment" for adolescent lovers. The pink cabbage rose was a welcome anticipated event of old forklore, as it suggested that the bearer was "An Ambassador of Love". Larger white roses were incorporated into bridal bouquets, and portrayed a maiden's "Innocent Love".
A damask rose gave the compliment of a "Brilliant Complexion", so important to the ladies. Of course, the red rose is known for "True Love". Yellow roses, on the contrary, signified waning love and loss of affection, the dreaded emotion of "Jealousy".
Is it any wonder that roses were highly regarded and shouted to the world the tender secrets they hid? We find them pressed between the pages of old books, preserved for centuries. One can only imagine the importance of that little bloom to the original owner. Ever so sweet, the rose is truly the Queen of the Flowers.
More soon on language portrayed by other flowers......