Union Jack

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Sonnet 109

Read by Claire Marchionne
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An extract from Gerard's Herbal, A History of Plants, published in 1597: The Plant of Roses, though it be a shrub full of prickles, yet it had bin more fit and convenient to have placed it with the most glorious floures of the world, than to insert the same here among base and thorny shrubs: for the Rose doth deserve the chief and prime place among all floures whatsoever; being not only esteemed for his beauty, vertues, and his fragrant and odoriferous smell; but also because it is the honor and ornament of our English Scepter, as by the conjunction appeareth, in the uniting of those two most Royall Houses of Lancaster and Yorke.

tudor rose
O! never say that I was false of heart,
Though absence seem'd my flame to qualify,
As easy might I from my self depart
As from my soul which in thy breast doth lie:
That is my home of love: if I have rang'd,
Like him that travels, I return again;
Just to the time, not with the time exchang'd,
So that myself bring water for my stain.
Never believe though in my nature reign'd,
All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,
That it could so preposterously be stain'd, 
To leave for nothing all thy sum of good;
  For nothing this wide universe I call,
  Save thou, my rose, in it thou art my all.

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