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The "purple flower" of Marvell's metaphysical poem (though the poet is late for the standard Metaphysical era) is the lavender rose. Flower historians say that lavender roses were grown in ancient Roman gardens and were used in their petal scented baths. Popular also in English cottage gardens (perhaps a gift left by the retreating Roman Empire) and were used medicinally by apothecaries (preparers of herbal and floral medicines and drugs) during the Medieval period.

In the 1800s a rose with a deeper shade of purple was developed as a hybrid, but the lavender rose, understandably called "purple" by the seventeenth century poet (1621-1678), is an ancient and deeply symbolic rose that has two symbolic meanings. Firstly, it symbolizes deep love at first sight, sometimes love at first sight that is only a passing infatuation since the lavender rose is soon faded. Secondly, it symbolizes royalty through the aspects of majesty and splendor.

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