Thursday, February 26, 2009

Go Lovely Rose


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 nice interpretation found here:

The love lyric "Go Lovely Rose " by Edmund Waller (1606-87) is a fervent plea by the speaker to his extremely shy and withdrawn lover who "shuns to have her graces espied," to come out into the open so that he can praise her beauty.

The second and third stanzas do not contain any similes which compare the lover and the rose. However, the speaker personifies the rose as his messenger to advocate and plead his cause to his bashful lover. He instructs the rose to tell his lover that if he (the rose) had bloomed in a desert where there are no people, then it would have withered and died without anyone praising its beauty. So, he asks the rose to tell her to come out into the open so that he can admire and praise her beauty, because beauty which is hidden from the eyes of men has very little or no value at all, "Small is the worth/Of beauty from the light retired."

The poet exploits two characteristics of the rose to drive home his argument: the rose is a beautiful flower, but at the same time its beauty will last only for a short period of time ("How small a part of time") before it withers and dies. Similarly, the beauty of his lover, like that of the rose's is only temporary and there is no point in keeping it hidden. She must come out into the open so that her beauty can be admired and enjoyed.

2 comments:

Sadie said...

now that i look at that last stanza again, "then die-- that she/ the common fate of all things rare/ may read in thee" implies that the 'she' being referred to is in fact death instead of the chick or the flower. could be he wanted death to take her while she was still young and beautiful (totally fits in with his attitude towards Lady Dorothea).

Mr. Henry said...

Which "Go Lovely Rose" are yall doing? If it's Eric Whitacre, I hate you because I mentioned that one about 3 or 4 years ago...