Account Of A Singular Custom Kept Up For Many Years, And Still Prevailing In Picardy
( Originally Published Late 1800's )
(Prom the Countess de Genus's " Theatre of Education." [London, 1781, 4 vols.])
There is still a part of the world where simple genuine virtue receives public honours; it is in a village of Picardya place far distant from the politeness and luxury of great cities. There an affecting ceremony, which draws tears from the spectator, a solemnity awful from its venerable antiquity and salutary influence, has been pre-served, notwithstanding the revolutions of twelve centuries; there, the simple lustre of the flowers, with which innocence is annually crowned, is at once the reward, the encouragement, and the emblem.
According to a tradition handed down from age to age, St. Medard, born at Salençy, proprietor, rather than lord, of the territory of Salençy (for there were no fiefs at that time), was the institutor of that charming festival which has made virtue flourish for so many ages. He had himself the pleasing consolation of enjoying the fruit of his wisdom, and his family was honoured with the prize which he had instituted, for his sister obtained the crown of roses.
This affecting and valuable festival has been transmitted from the fifth century to the present day. To this rose is attached a purity of morals, which from time immemorial has never suffered the slightest blemish ; to this rose are attached the happiness, peace, and glory of the Salençians.