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Re: Shakespeare?

Ellen G said:
 The iris is named after the Greek Goddess of the Rainbow or
        of the Gods, who was depicted as "A radiant maiden borne in swift
        flight on golden wings. Among her duties was that of leading the souls
        of dead women to the Elysian fields, and as a token of that faith the
        Greeks planted *purple iris* on the graves of women", according to
        Hollingsworth in his `Flower Chronicles'.

        taken from Irises by Susan Berry, p. 11

To add to Ellen's information -- Sir Paul Harvey's Oxford Companion to 
Classical Literature says this about the goddess Iris:

In Greek mythology, the goddess of the rainbow.  She was the daughter
of Thaumas (son of Pontus, the Sea) and Electra (daughter of Oceanus)and 
consequently sister of the Harpies.  Iris is not only a personification of
the rainbow, but also the messenger of the gods, particularly of Hera. In 
Virgil the rainbow is the path along which she travels. She was the wife of
Zephyrus, the west wind.

Carolyn Schaffner in Buffalo, NY

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