At Eating Words, there has been some discussion of the merits of the compliments contained in the Song of Songs.  While these may not be the most evocative poetic references in the English-speaking world today (or perhaps at any time), it is possible to find Near Eastern love poetry using these sorts of images for centuries after this.  Comparison of women’s attributes to pomegranates, cedars or cypresses, for instance, is fairly common in what little traditional Armenian poetry I have seen.  The most bizarre compliment, and one that I can’t quite understand, is when Sayat Nova compares his beloved’s hair to basil.  This doesn’t strike me as a complimentary thing to say, but perhaps I am not being imaginative enough.