In Act IV, Scene IV of The Winter's Tale, Perdita is "mistress o' the feast", playing hostess at the sheep-shearing feast, when King Polixenes and Camillo arrive in disguise. Perdita gives them both flowers, accompanied by the following short speech:
Give me those flowers there, Dorcas. Reverend sirs,
For you there's rosemary and rue; these keep
Seeming and savour all the winter long:
Grace and remembrance be to you both,
And welcome to our shearing!
But it doesn't end there. She and Polixenes, along with Florizel and Camillo, talk at length about flowers for the next 60-odd lines. (I won't quote all those lines here, since the full text of the play is freely available and easy to find online, for example here.)
When I saw The Winter's Tale performed in the theatre, this conversation was actually cut out, as were some later sections of the sheep-shearing feast in this very long scene. But I remember hearing that the conversation about flowers had some special significance and symbolism relating to the plot.
Is there more to this conversation than just idle chat about flowers? If so, what is the hidden meaning and/or symbolism?