A Dead Rose


    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!


facebook share button twitter share button google plus share button tumblr share button reddit share button email share button share on pinterest pinterest

Create a library and add your favorite stories. Get started by clicking the "Add" button.
Add A Dead Rose to your own personal library.

Return to the Elizabeth Barrett Browning Home Page, or . . . Read the next poem; Adequacy

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.