A Poesy of Roses

A Poesy of Roses:    Poets have a lot to answer for:

 

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!

 

 

 

A 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

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

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!

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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.

 

 

William Blake’s house for sale; help save it for the Nation

I have just found the item linked below, dated 11th September written by Alison Flood in Guardian, Culture section.   I find this part of Guardian’s output frequently interesting and stimulating also having just enough of a point of view to have me muttering  my own contrary thoughts on the subject into my beard.  Though, as I have no beard  (but often a lazy soft-stubble)  and my comments are usually ill-considered and based on limited knowledge of the subject, the quicker they disappear into the ether the better.

However, back to saving William Blake’s cottage for the Nation.   I have no hesitation in supporting this plea.   The uniqeness of William Blake as a man, poet and artist  has  fairly stood the test of time.   His work has survived and continues to offer us thought and inspiration so this is an ideal, maybe last, chance to secure another piece of the heritage of William Blake:

‘Crowdfunding campaign hopes to save William Blake’s cottage for nation’:

See latest item in the Guardian, linked to via booktrade link

The Blake Society has negotiated a reduction in the initial price but still needs to raise £520,000  by October 31st to ensure purchase of the property.  The Blake Society has its own members and  well-known literary supporters but the terribly short time allowable means a crowd-funding campaign is the most feasible way of  raising the money quickly.  This will launch on 19th September.

The cottage is in Felpham, Sussex. If (when!!) purchased it will be put into a charitable trust held in perpetuity for the benefit of the nation.

The Big Blake Project  (link) is a festival, founded by Rachel Searle which starts on 16th September.     As I type this I realise time is running out as it starts tomorrow!  You should look them up.  Events at St Mary’s Church in Felpham including talks, performances, music, poetry and art in the Old Reccory Gardens in Felpham.

I live a long way from Felpham, will not get there this year but am determined to visit because the imagination is a wonderful thing and a lot can be gained/felt by visiting such spots.   For me, my compass points are John Clare’s Cottage,  Gray’s churchyard and Milton’s Cottage.  No doubt these fall back into my childhood days but others still beckon.

 

 

Three poems by William Blake

Laughing Song

When the greenwoods laugh with the voice of joy,

And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;

When the air does laugh with our merry wit,

And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;

When the meadows laugh with lively green,

And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene;

When Mary and Susan and Emily

With their sweet round mouths sing ‘Haha he!’

When the painted birds laugh in the shade,

Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread;

Come live, and be merry, and join with me,

To sing the sweet chorus of ‘Ha ha he!’

The Fly

                       Little Fly,

    Thy summer’s play

My thoughtless hand

       Has brushed away.

       Am not I

A fly like thee?

Or art not thou

A man like me?

                   For I dance,

    And drink, and sing,

   Till some blind hand

    Shall brush my wing.

              If thought is life

And strength and breath,

                    And the want

        Of thought is death;

                         Then am I

                          A happy fly.

                                 If I live,

                             Or if I die.

The Clod and the Pebble

‘Love seeketh not itself to please,

Nor for itself hath any care,

But for another gives its ease,

And builds a heaven in hell’s despair’

So sung a little clod of clay,

Trodden with the cattle’s feet,

But a pebble of the brook

Warbled out these metres meet;

‘Love seeketh only Self to please,

To bind another to its delight,

Joys in another’s loss of ease,

And builds a hell in heaven’s despite.’

from  ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’      Project Gutenberg