A rose I give to you
This rose so fresh with fragrance rare,
Its petals bringing joy to you
The fairest of the fair.
Oh roses are like memories
They fade and pass above
But you dear heart will e’er remain
My fading flower of forgotten love.
— Fading Flower of Forgotten Love by Agnes Ellicott Strong
John Crowley (author of the AEgypt Tetralogy) has mentioned several times in his books a curious list: dogs, stones, stars, and roses. What can he mean by this?
I propose this is a metaphor (Meta-four?) for the four colors of the Magnum Opus: yellow dogs, black stones, white stars, and red roses.
At least until I find out otherwise!
AEgypt is a literary work by John Crowley consisting of four novels published over a period of twenty years. Each of the four books is divided into three parts, and the twelve parts are named after the astrological houses.
Many occult, alchemical, and esoteric themes run through the novels, and one might describe the work as being “magical realism”. Many of the magical elements are told as “a book within the book” about British occultist Doctor John Dee and Italian heretic Giordano Bruno. Even though some of the magical events occurring in the past and described within the novels seem to be actually magical, by the time the novels end the age of magic is now over, and the last magical event seemed to erase the fact that magic ever was.
The ending of the last book makes several references to Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”.
Some very useful reviews of the first three books can be found below.