Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 392: 160-161

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Pliny: Natural History

Liber XXI

I. In hortis seri et coronamenta iussit Cato, inenarrabili florum maxime subtilitate, quando nulli potest facilius esse loqui quam rerum naturae pingere, lascivienti praesertim et in magno gaudio 2fertilitatis tam variae ludenti. quippe reliqua usus alimentique gratia genuit, ideoque saecula annosque tribuit his, flores vero odoresque in diem gignit, magna, ut palam est, admonitione hominum, quae spectatissime floreant celerrime marcescere. sed ne pictura quidem sufficit1 imagini colorum reddendae mixturarumque varietati, sive alterni atque multiplices inter se nectuntur,2 sive privatis generum funiculis in orbem, in oblicum, in ambitum quaedam coronae per coronas currunt.


Book XXI

Book XXI

I. Catoa bade us include among our gardenChaplets, the various kinds. plants chaplet flowers, especially because of the indescribable delicacy of their blossoms, for nobody can find it easier to tell of them than Nature does to give them colours, as here she is in her most sportive mood, playful in her great joy at her varied fertility. To all other things in fact she gave birth because of their usefulness, and to serve as food, and so has assigned them their ages and years; but blossoms and their perfumes she brings forth only for a day—an obvious warning to men that the bloom that pleases the eye most is the soonest to fade. Not even the painter’s art, however, suffices to copy their colours and the variety of their combinations, whether two kinds are woven together alternately, and also more than two, or whether with separate festoons of the different kinds chaplets are run through chaplets to form a circle, or crosswise, or sometimes forming a coil.b

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938