Anemones are delicate flowers that open in early spring and are very short lived. The Greek word anemos means wind; anemone literally means 'daughter of wind' and so, these ephemeral flowers are also known as the windflowers. Of their beauty, resilience and transience, Rene Rapin wrote:
But which of all the cruel Deities
Expos'd the Garden's Pride, fair Emonies,
Beauties so tender to such rigid Dooms,
For Storms to shake, and Snow to hide their Blooms:
We grateful wish the more deserving Fair,
A warmer Season, and a milder Air.
For when their op'ning Blossoms wide they spread,
Their Stripes diffus'd are of so rich a red,
So bright their Flames aspire, so soft their Grace,
That not one Rival of the flow'ry Race,
Can more Admirers boast, nor dares to vye,
With their curl'd Leaves and with their purple Dye.
He further describes the two fables that tell us how the anemone flowers were formed:
Flora with Envy stung, as Tales relate,
Condemn'd a Virgin to this Change of Fate;
From Grecian Nymphs her Beauty bore the Prize,
Beauty the worst of Crimes in jealous eyes;
For as with careless Steps she trod the Plain,
Courting the Winds to fill her flowing Train,
Suspicious Flora feared she soon would prove
Her Rival in Her Husband Zephyr's Love.
So the Fair Victim fell, Beauty's Light
Had been more lasting, had it been less Bright;
She tho' transformed as charming as before
The fairest Maid is now the fairest flow'r.
Fame does this other different Story tell,
When by a Boars' sharp Tusk Adonis fell,
This Flow'r alone to Venus gave Relief,
Charm'd the fair Goddess and suppressed her Grief:
For while what's mortal from her Blood she freed,
And Show'rs of tears on the pale Body shed,
Lovely Anemonies rose,
And Veil'd with purple Palls the cause of all her Woes.
Of flowers and specially Anemones, he further wrote:
...............Whose radiant Treasures can alone repair,
The Spoils of furious Storms and wasteful Air:
For when the Trees their falling Honours mourn,
And from on high Aquarius pours his Urn,
Their Scarlet will through Autumn's Ruin shine,
Tho' more in Spring their Tincture they refine;
For fair Anemone and Zeph'rus love
With mutual Flames, and at like Seasons move.