'UPON ROSES' by Robert Herrick
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Under a lawn, than skies more clear,
Some ruffled Roses nestling were,
And snugging there, they seem'd to lie
As in a flowery nunnery;
They blush'd, and look'd more fresh than flowers
Quickened of late by pearly showers;
And all, because they were possest
But of the heat of Julia's breast,
Which, as a warm and moisten'd spring,
Gave them their ever-flourishing.
Editor 1 Interpretation
UPON ROSES: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation
Upon Roses is a poem by the 17th-century English poet Robert Herrick. The poem is a classic example of the metaphysical poetry that was popular during the 17th century. In this poem, Herrick presents the rose as a symbol of beauty and love, but he also explores the ephemeral nature of these qualities. This literary criticism and interpretation will explore the themes, imagery, and literary devices used in Upon Roses, and will provide an analysis of its significance.
Robert Herrick was born in London in 1591 and was educated at Cambridge University. He served as a minister for several years before becoming a poet. Herrick is best known for his collection of poems, Hesperides, which was published in 1648. Upon Roses is one of the many poems in this collection. Herrick's poetry is characterized by its wit, humor, and use of classical and biblical allusions.
Upon Roses explores several themes, including the transience of beauty, the fleeting nature of love, and the inevitability of death. The poem suggests that the beauty of the rose is temporary and that it will eventually wither and die. This is a metaphor for the fleeting nature of beauty and the inevitability of death. The poem also suggests that love is similarly transient, and that it too will fade away with time.
Another theme that emerges in the poem is the idea of the cyclical nature of life. The rose, with its cycle of growth, bloom, and decay, represents this idea. The poem suggests that everything in life follows this pattern, including love and beauty.
The imagery in Upon Roses is rich and evocative. Herrick uses a variety of images to paint a picture of the rose, including its color, fragrance, and texture. He also uses images of nature to create a sense of the cyclical nature of life. The following lines are examples of the imagery used in the poem:
When with a serious musing I behold
The grateful and obsequious marigold,
How duly, every morning, she displays
Her open breast, when Titan spreads his rays
And, when he shuts them, how she sleeps within,
With her sad face upon her leafy bed;
Then, when the vespers bell commands her rise,
She moves her head, and spreads her large flowered thighs;
Unfolds her apron, with a bounteous hand,
And holds it out, sharing with all the land.
These lines are filled with images of nature, including the marigold, the sun, and the vespers bell. The description of the marigold's "open breast" and "large flowered thighs" is sensual and creates a sense of beauty and abundance.
Herrick uses a variety of literary devices in Upon Roses, including metaphor, allusion, and personification. The poem is filled with metaphors, most notably the rose as a symbol of beauty and love. Herrick also uses allusion to draw upon classical and biblical themes. The allusion to the myth of Adonis in the first stanza is an example of this:
How soon doth man decay!
When clothes are taken from a chest of sweets
To swaddle infants, whose young breath
Scarce knows the way;
Those clouts are little winding-sheets,
Which do consign and send them unto death.
In this stanza, Herrick alludes to the myth of Adonis, who was killed by a boar and whose body was wrapped in linen and sent to the underworld. The use of this allusion reinforces the theme of the transience of beauty and the inevitability of death.
Personification is another literary device used in the poem. The rose is given human-like qualities, such as "blushing" and "breathing." This creates a sense of intimacy between the reader and the rose, and reinforces the idea that the rose is a symbol of love and beauty.
Upon Roses is a poem that explores the ephemeral nature of beauty and love. The rose is used as a symbol for these qualities, and Herrick uses a variety of literary devices and imagery to create a sense of their fleeting nature. The poem also explores the cyclical nature of life, suggesting that everything follows a pattern of growth, bloom, and decay.
At its core, Upon Roses is a meditation on the impermanence of life. Herrick suggests that we should appreciate the beauty and love in our lives while we can, because they will eventually fade away. The poem is a reminder that life is short and that we should make the most of the time that we have.
Upon Roses is a classic example of metaphysical poetry. It explores themes of love, beauty, and transience through the use of rich imagery and literary devices. The poem is a meditation on the impermanence of life and a reminder to appreciate the beauty and love in our lives while we can. Herrick's poetic skill is evident in the way that he crafts each line, using language that is both sensual and evocative. Upon Roses is a timeless poem that continues to resonate with readers today.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Upon Roses: A Celebration of Beauty and Transience
Robert Herrick’s Upon Roses is a poem that celebrates the beauty of roses while also acknowledging their fleeting nature. Through vivid imagery and lyrical language, Herrick captures the essence of these delicate flowers and the emotions they evoke. In this analysis, we will explore the themes and literary devices used in Upon Roses, and how they contribute to the poem’s overall meaning.
The poem begins with a description of the rose’s physical appearance, with Herrick using a series of metaphors to convey its beauty. He describes the rose as a “sweet bag of spices” and a “fragrant shrine,” highlighting its sensory appeal. The use of the word “shrine” also suggests a sense of reverence for the rose, as if it is something to be worshipped or admired.
Herrick then goes on to describe the rose’s color, using a series of similes to convey its vibrancy and richness. He compares the rose to a “blushing face” and a “crimson gem,” emphasizing its vividness and intensity. The use of these similes also serves to create a sense of movement and energy within the poem, as if the rose is alive and pulsing with vitality.
As the poem progresses, Herrick shifts his focus to the rose’s transience, acknowledging that its beauty is fleeting and temporary. He describes the rose as a “short-lived flower” and a “fading glory,” highlighting its impermanence. This theme of transience is a common one in poetry, and it serves to remind us of the fleeting nature of life itself.
Despite this acknowledgement of the rose’s transience, Herrick does not dwell on its impermanence. Instead, he celebrates the rose for what it is, recognizing that its beauty is all the more precious because it is fleeting. He writes, “But sweet, yet short-lived flower! / Sweet are the thoughts that do thee right, / And short the time which they endure!” Here, Herrick is suggesting that the beauty of the rose is all the more valuable because it is temporary, and that we should appreciate it while we can.
Throughout the poem, Herrick uses a variety of literary devices to convey his message. One of the most prominent of these is imagery, with Herrick using vivid descriptions of the rose to create a sense of its beauty and vitality. He also uses metaphors and similes to compare the rose to other objects, emphasizing its sensory appeal and vibrancy.
Another important literary device used in Upon Roses is personification, with Herrick imbuing the rose with human-like qualities. He describes the rose as having a “blushing face” and a “fragrant shrine,” suggesting that it is more than just a flower, but rather a living, breathing entity.
Finally, Herrick’s use of rhyme and meter serves to create a sense of musicality and rhythm within the poem. The use of iambic tetrameter gives the poem a sense of movement and energy, while the rhyme scheme (ABAB) creates a sense of symmetry and balance.
In conclusion, Upon Roses is a poem that celebrates the beauty of roses while also acknowledging their transience. Through vivid imagery and lyrical language, Herrick captures the essence of these delicate flowers and the emotions they evoke. The poem serves as a reminder of the fleeting nature of life, and the importance of appreciating the beauty around us while we can.
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