And Clearchus the Solensian, in his treatise on Love Matters, says—“Why is it that we carry in our hands flowers, and apples, and things of that sort? Is it that by our delight in these things nature points out those of us who have a desire for all kinds of beauty? Is it, therefore, as a kind of specimen of beauty that men carry beautiful things in their hands, and take delight in them? Or do they carry them about for two objects? For by these means the beginning of good fortune, and an indication of one's wishes, is to a [p. 887] certain extent secured; to those who are asked for them, by their being addressed, and to those who give them, because they give an intimation beforehand, that they must give of their beauty in exchange. For a request for beautiful flowers and fruits, intimates that those who receive them are prepared to give in return the beauty of their persons. Perhaps also people are fond of those things, and carry them about them in order to comfort and mitigate the vexation which arises from the neglect or absence of those whom they love. For by the presence of these agreeable objects, the desire for those persons whom we love is blunted; unless, indeed, we may rather say that it is for the sake of personal ornament that people carry those things, and take delight in them, just as they wear anything else which tends to ornament. For not only those people who are crowned with flowers, but those also who carry them in their hands, find their whole appearance is improved by them. Perhaps also, people carry them simply because of their love for any beautiful object. For the love of beautiful objects shows that we are inclined to be fond of the productions of the seasons. For the face of spring and autumn is really beautiful, when looked at in their flowers and fruits. And all persons who are in love, being made, as it were, luxurious by their passion, and inclined to admire beauty, are softened by the sight of beauty of any sort. For it is something natural that people who fancy that they themselves are beautiful and elegant, should be fond of flowers; on which account the companions of Proserpine are represented as gathering flowers. And Sappho says—
I saw a lovely maiden gathering flowers.