Rose Poetry

Engraving of John Keats
Engraving of John Keats

The Red Rose John Boyle O’Rielly 1844-1890

John Boyle O’Rielly was an Irish poet, journalist, author and activist. As a youth in Ireland, he was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, or Fenians, for which he was transported to Western Australia. After escaping to the United States, he became a prominent spokesperson for the Irish community and culture, through his editorship of the Boston newspaper The Pilot, his prolific writing, and his lecture tours.

The red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
Oh, the red rose is a falcon,
And the white rose is a dove.

But I send you a cream-white rose bud
With a flush on its petal tips;
For the love that is purest and sweetest
Has a kiss of desire on the lips.

Song of The Rose Sappho

Sappho was born on the Greek island of Lesbos, in about 615 BC. Not much is known about her life, although it is known that she ran an acadamy for single women. She was also a follower of the cults of Aphrodite and Eros.

legend has it that she threw herself from a cliff, after a lover broke her heart. Other historians say she dies of old age in around 550AD. You decide, the former tale is more tragic and fitting of a great poet, don’t you think?

For Zeus chose us a King of the flowers in his mirth,
He would call to the rose, and would royally crown it;
For the rose, ho, the rose! is the grace of the earth,
Is the light of the plants that are growing upon it!

For the rose, ho, the rose! is the eye of the flowers,
Is the blush of the meadows that feel themselves fair,
Is the lightning of beauty that strikes through the bowers
On pale lovers that sit in the glow unaware.

Ho, the rose breathes of love! ho, the rose lifts the cup
To the red lips of Cypris invoked for a guest!
Ho, the rose having curled its sweet leaves for the world
Takes delight in the motion its petals keep up,
As they laugh to the wind as it laughs from the west.

Three Flowers by William Watson

William Watson, 1858-1935. An English poet (Yorkshire), William Watson was influenced by Tennyson and Keats.

I made a little song about the rose
And sang it for the rose to hear,
Nor ever marked until the music’s close
A lily that was listening near.

The red red rose flushed redder with delight,
And like a queen her head she raised.
The white white lily blanched a paler white,
For anger that she was not praised.

Turning I left the rose unto her pride,
The lily to her enviousness,
And soon upon the grassy ground espied
A daisy all companionless.

Doubtless no flattered flower is this, I deemed;
And not so graciously it grew
As rose or lily: but methought it seemed
More thankful for the sun and dew.

Christmas Rosesby Bourdillon

Bourdillon was a Victorian English poet from Buddington, Sussex. He was born on March 22, 1852, and educated at Worcester College, Oxford. He was tutor to Prince and the Princess Christian at Cumberland Lodge.

White-faced Winter Roses,
O’er the grave I plant you
Where the dead reposes,
That a soul may haunt you,
And your ghostly whiteness
In the Winter gloom,
Seem some spirit-brightness
Shining from the tomb!

In A Kentish Rose Garden by Mathilde Blind

Mathilde Blind ~ 1841 – 1896. Although she was born in Germany, she spent most of her life in England. She was devoted to both literature, and the higher education of women. Possibly best known for her epic poem, “The Ascent Of Man”.

Beside a Dial in the leafy close,
Where every bush was burning with the Rose,
With million roses falling flake by flake
Upon the lawn in fading summer snows:

I read the Persian Poet’s rhyme of old,
Each thought a ruby in a ring of gold?
Old thoughts so young, that, after all these years,
They’re writ on every rose-leaf yet unrolled.

You may not know the secret tongue aright
The Sunbeams on their rosy tablets write;
Only a poet may perchance translate
Those ruby-tinted hieroglyphs of light.

Red Red Rose by Robert Burns

Robert Burns was born in a small humble cottage in Alloway, Scotland, 1759. He went on to become Scotland’s greatest poet…. Red Red Rose is only one of many fine pieces. he died at the age of only 37….who knows what he would have produced, given a few more years?

O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly played in tune.
As fair art, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will luve still, my dear,
While the sands o’ shall run.