(The) is a funeral tree, and was dedicated by the Romans to
Pluto, because when once cut it never grows again.
“Cypresse garlands are of great account at funeralls amongst the
gentiler sort, but rosemary and bayes are used by the commons both at
funeralls and weddings. They are plants which fade not a good while
after they are gathered ... and intimate that the remembrance of the
present solemnity might not dye presently.” —Coles: Introduction
to the Knowledge of Plants.
The magic cypress branch. In the opera of Roberto il Diavolo,
after the “dance of love,” in which Helena seduces the duke, he removes
the cypress branch, which has the power of imparting to him whatever he
wishes. With this he enters the palace of Isabella, princess of Sicily,
and transfixes the princess and her attendants in a magic sleep, but
afterwards relenting, he breaks the branch, and is dragged away by the
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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