Grocott & Ward, comps. Grocott’s Familiar Quotations, 6th ed. 189-?.


The myrtle (ensign of supreme command,
Consign’d to Venus by Melissa’s hand;)
In myrtle shades oft sings the happy swain,
In myrtle shades despairing ghosts complain;
The myrtle crowns the happy lovers’ heads,
The unhappy lovers’ graves the myrtle spreads.—
Soon must this sprig, as you shall fix its doom,
Adorn Philander’s head, or grace his tomb.
Dr. Johnson.—Written at the request of a gentleman to whom a lady had given a sprig of myrtle.

[Punch in his principal illustration, wherein Lord Palmerston stands prominent, usually places a sprig of myrtle in his mouth, as the “ensign,” it is presumed, of “supreme command.”]