Rose Poems: Waller, Blake, Bloomfield, Barrett Browning and Johnson Smith

A small, random basket of rose poems: a rose by another name.


Go, lovely rose!                                   Edmund Waller 1606-1687
Go, lovely rose !
Tell her that wastes her time and me,
That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.

Tell her that’s young,
And shuns to have her graces spied,
That hadst thou sprung
In deserts where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended died.

Small is the worth
Of beauty from the light retired;
Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desired,
And not blush so to be admired.

Then die! that she
The common fate of all things rare
May read in thee;
How small a part of time they share
That are so wondrous sweet and fair!


peach roseA Word To Two Young Ladies       Robert Bloomfield 1766-1823

When tender Rose-trees first receive
On half-expanded leaves, the shower;
Hope’s gayest pictures we believe,
And anxious watch each coining flower.

Then, if beneath the genial sun
That spreads abroad the full-blown may,
Two infant stems the rest out-run,
Their buds the first to meet the day,

With joy their op’ning tints we view,
While morning’s precious moments fly:
My pretty maids, ’tis thus with you;
The fond admiring gazer, I.

Preserve, sweet buds, where’er you be;
The richest gem that decks a wife;
The charm of female modesty:
And let sweet Music give it life.

Still may the favouring muse be found:
Still circumspect the paths ye tread:
Plant moral truths in fancy’s ground;
And meet old age without a dread.

Yet, ere that comes, while yet ye quaff
The cup of health without a pain,
I’ll shake my grey hairs when you laugh,
And, when you sing, be young again.

My pretty Rose Tree            William Blake     1757-1827

A flower was offered to me,
Such a flower as May never bore;
But I said ‘I’ve a pretty rose tree,’
And I passed the sweet flower o’er.

Then I went to my pretty rose tree,
To tend her by day and by night;
But my rose turned away with jealousy,
And her thorns were my only delight.


     A Dead Rose             Elizabeth Barrett Browning   1806-1881 :

picture by Wordparc

picture by Wordparc

O Rose! who dares to name thee?
No longer roseate now, nor soft, nor sweet;
But pale, and hard, and dry, as stubble-wheat,—
Kept seven years in a drawer—thy titles shame thee.

The breeze that used to blow thee
Between the hedgerow thorns, and take away
An odour up the lane to last all day,—
If breathing now,—unsweetened would forego thee.

The sun that used to smite thee,
And mix his glory in thy gorgeous urn,
Till beam appeared to bloom, and flower to burn,—
If shining now,—with not a hue would light thee.

The dew that used to wet thee,
And, white first, grow incarnadined, because
It lay upon thee where the crimson was,—
If dropping now,—would darken where it met thee.

The fly that lit upon thee,
To stretch the tendrils of its tiny feet,
Along thy leaf’s pure edges, after heat,—
If lighting now,—would coldly overrun thee.

The bee that once did suck thee,
And build thy perfumed ambers up his hive,
And swoon in thee for joy, till scarce alive,—
If passing now,—would blindly overlook thee.

The heart doth recognise thee,
Alone, alone! The heart doth smell thee sweet,
Doth view thee fair, doth judge thee most complete,—
Though seeing now those changes that disguise thee.

Yes, and the heart doth owe thee
More love, dead rose! than to such roses bold
As Julia wears at dances, smiling cold!—
Lie still upon this heart—which breaks below thee!


from a rose                           J.Johnson Smith                        rose and dew

A rose between two thorns, I stand,
And wilt for want of more.
You praise my glow and sweetest buds
But glance away at slightest blush
To send me epithets of love and store
The memory by sleight of hand.

You call the dew to spark like jewels
On soft peach bloom.
Though, see, I have vermillion streaks
In whorls of cream and gold
Whilst scents bemuse and fill a room
With amour and dreams of other worlds.

So thus I implore, entail, entreat
That with your wishes of beauteous praise
This rose will not fail, retreat, be ignored
‘Til summer’s o’er and autumn’s fall,
Closed in with frost and clay’ed feet
And leaves but memory of this.

You offer words that deny my thorns
And discontent at place and praise.
My beauty, I conclude, is mine
So might I alone confer at will?
My face and cheek to offer and raise
Or hide from thee in scorn?

So trust this rose, between two prickes,
To have the wit and scheme to thrive
Where’er she’s borne.
This Moll, this Anne or Caroline
May climb or ramble o’er fence or brick,
Her choice; to be alive.




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