And finally, in the Valentine's Day vein, Irene Virag (Newsday.com) cites (inter alia) some lines of "Sappho":
Actually, the royal treatment may have begun more than 2,500 years ago, when the Greek poetess Sappho put her feelings right out there: "Would Jove appoint some flower to reign/In matchless beauty on the plain/The Rose (mankind will all agree)/The Rose the queen of flowers should be."
Yes, well...So where did those verses come from (asked the humanities.classics usenet group)? NOT from Sappho, in fact...and they're only verses in the English...They're the 18th-cen. poet Francis Fawkes' version (online in imperfectly legible form here) of a prose passage of Achilles Tatius' romance Cleitophon and Leucippe (II.1). Fawkes notes (not online) that these words are "generally ascribed to Sappho," which may have been true formerly, but is not true any more...Dona Martin, in Rose Lore (Sept. 2004), cites versions by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and J. A. Symonds, noting the provenance (Achilles Tatius), then goes off to the Anacreontea to follow up the trail of the "Queen of Flowers"...Here, finally, is Gaselee's (Loeb) translation of the passage in question:
If Zeus had wished to give the flowers a king, that king would have been the rose; for it is the ornament of the world, the glory of the plants, the eye of all flowers, the meadows' blush, beauty itself glowing; it has the breath of Love, it is the go-between of Aphrodite; its foliage is of sweet-smelling leaves, it glories in its rustling petals which seem to smile at the approach of the Zephyr. [my emphasis]
Granted, in Achilles Tatius this is supposed to indicate what Leucippe sang, but it is not verse as written. Oh, and one of these days I should figure out how to put Greek text on this site...since as far as I can tell, A.T. is not online anywhere...