Its strength within thy walls, and was of yore Patron or tyrant, as the changing mood Of petty power impell'd, of those he wore The wreath which Dante's brow alone had worn before.
The lightning rent from Ariosto's bust The iron crown of laurel's mimic'd leaves; Nor was the ominous element unjust.
For the true laurel wreath which glory weaves is of the tree no bolt of thunder cleaves, And the false semblance but disgraced his brow; Yet still, if fondly superstition grieves, Know that the lightning sanctifies below Whate'er it strikes yon head is doubly sacred now.
Wreaths of laurel on a victor's brow began with Livia Drusilla, wife of Caesar Augustus. "A hen of remarkable whiteness... was holding in its beak a laurel branch bearing its berries" and dropped the branch at Livia's feet. From this time onward, the bird and her offspring resided in nests, at the Poultry on the Tiber where the laurel branch was planted and propagated..."The laurel grove so begun has thriven in a marvelous way..."
From this time, all the Caesars appeared in triumph & held a laurel branch from the original tree in his hand and wore laurel wreath upon his head-and planted the branch. Pliny the Elder
close up of Clio, Muse of History
Portrait of a Woman Wearing a Laurel Wreath
Da Vinci's Wreath of Laurel, Palm and Juniper
Dante Alighieri by Sandro Botticelli
** ** Byron's Wreath of Laurel photograph from (here) and Patrick Hunt (here)