Brewer's: Rose

Sir John Mandeville says- A Jewish maid of Bethlehem (whom Southey names Zillah) was beloved by one Hamuel, a brutish sot. Zillah rejected his suit, and Hamuel vowed vengeance. He gave out that Zillah was a demoniac, and she was condemned to be burnt; but God averted the flames, the stake budded, and the maid stood unharmed under a rose-tree full of white and red roses, then “first seen on earth since Paradise was lost.”

An emblem of England. It is also the cognisance of the Richmonds, hence the rose in the mouth of one of the foxes which support the shield in the public-house called the Holland Arms, Kensington. The daughter of the Duke of Richmond (Lady Caroline Lennox) ran away with Mr. Henry Fox, afterwards Baron Holland of Foxley. So the Fox stole the Rose and ran off with it.

In the language of flowers, different roses have a different signification. For example:- The Burgundy Rose signifies simplicity and beauty.

The China Rose, grace or beauty ever fresh.

The Daily Rose, a smile.

The Dog Rose, pleasure mixed with pain.

A Faded Rose, beauty is fleeting.

The Japan Rose, beauty your sole attraction.

The Moss Rose, voluptuous love.

The Musk Rose, capricious beauty.

The Provence Rose, my heart is in flames.

The White Rose Bud, too young to love.

The White Rose full of buds, secrecy.

A wreath of Roses, beauty and virtue rewarded. The Yellow Rose, infidelity.


The red rose, says Sir John Mandeville, sprang from the extinguished brands heaped around a virgin martyr at Bethlehem, named Zillah. (See Rose.)

The Red Rose [of Lancaster].
(See Roses, The Wars of the Roses.)

The Red Rose
(as a public-house sign). Camden says the red rose was the accepted badge of Edmund Plantagenet, who was the second son of Henry III., and of the first Duke of Lancaster, surnamed Crouchbacke. It was also the cognisance of John of Gaunt, second Duke of Lancaster, in virtue of his wife, who was godchild of Edmund Crouch-backe, and his sole heir. (See above.)

The white rose,
says Sir John Mandeville, sprang from the unkindled brands heaped around the virgin martyr at Bethlehem. (See Rose.)

The White Rose
(as a public-house sign) was not first adopted by the Yorkists during the contest for the crown, as Shakespeare says. It was an hereditary cognisance of the House of York, and had been borne by them ever since the title was first created. It was adopted by the Jacobins as an emblem of the Pretender, because his adherents were obliged to abet him sub rosa (in secret).

No rose without a thorn.
“There is a crook in every lot” (Boston); “No joy without alloy;” “There is a poison-drop in man's purest cup;” “Every path hath its puddle” (Scotch).

“Il n'y a point de roses sans épines,” or “Point de rose sans épine;” “Il n'est si gentil mois d'Avril qui n'ait son chapeau de grésil.”

“Non v'è rosa senza spina;” “Ogni medaglia ha il suo reverso.” Latin: “Nihil est ab omni parte beatum” (Horace: 2 Odes, x. 27); “Curtæ nescio quid semper abest rei.” Under the rose (sub rosa). In strict confidence. Cupid gave Harpocrates (the god of silence) a rose, to bribe him not to betray the amours of Venus. Hence the flower became the emblem of silence. It was for this reason sculptured on the ceilings of banquet-rooms, to remind the guests that what was spoken sub vino was not to be uttered sub divo. In 1526 it was placed over confessionals. The banquet-room ceiling at Haddon Hall is decorated with roses. (French, parler sous la rose.

(in Christian art). The attribute of St. Dorothe'a, who carries roses in a basket; of St. Casilda, St. Elizabeth of Portugal, and St. Rose of Viterbo, who carry roses either in their hands or caps. St. Rosalia, St. Angelus, St. Rose of Lima, St. Ascylus, St. Victoria, etc., wear crowns of roses.

Rose elle a vecu ce que vivent les roses L'espace d'un matin.

Malherbe: A Mme. du Perrier, sur la Morto de sa Fille.

Like other roses, thy sweet rose survived

While shone the morning sun, then drooped and died. B. C. B.


for Rose-noble. A gold coin worth 6s. 8d. struck in 1344, under Edward III.; so called because it had a rose, the badge of the Lancastrians and Yorkists.

De la pistole, De la guinée, et de l'obole, Du louis d'or, du ducaton, De la rose, et du patagon.

Jacques Moreau, in Virgils Travesti.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894

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