Go, Lovely Rose By Edmund Waller

1216 words - 5 pages

The existence of beauty is as dependent on the admirers as much as those who are beautiful. Edmund Waller’s “Go, lovely Rose” and Tony Hoagland’s “Beauty” explore the idea that beauty can be used as a tool to gain opportunities, and how it can anchor those who strive to obtain it. While both poems deal with the idea of beauty, the perspectives that each of them brings for a woman that they know is very different. With the usage of tone, imagery and metaphors, both authors tell the story of how beauty is ephemeral.
The idea that beauty may come in a fleeting moment is captured in Edmund Waller' poem "Go, lovely Rose." In the poem, Waller instructs a rose to deliver a message to the woman he wishes to court. The first line of the poem, "Go, lovely Rose," shows how the rose is personified as the messenger of Waller's affection (Waller 1). Waller uses the image of a rose not only to compare its beauty to that of the woman of his affections, but also to show that his fondness will be short lived if she does not act fast on his intentions. Waller writes, "When I resemble her to thee, how sweet and fair she seems to be" to let the woman know that her beauty echoes that of the young and handsome rose (Waller 4-5). Because a rose is often seen as a romantic and sophisticated creature, Waller uses this metaphor to compliment the woman he wishes to persuade into courtship. Waller writes, "Tell her she wastes her time and me" to show his opinion that the woman should take him up on his offer of love (Waller 2). The tone of the poem shows that the female recipient is especially reluctant when it comes to the speaker's affections. Waller reveals the woman's shy nature when he states, "Tell her that's young and shuns to have her graces spied" (Waller 7). The speaker wants the youthful woman to know that beauty is unworthy of praise if it is unseen to the public eyes. In Waller's eyes, a woman should want to, and consequently, enjoy being coveted. An example of this is when Waller says, "Suffer [yourself] to be desired, and not blushed so to be admired" (Waller 14-15). To the speaker, hiding the beauty which one may possess is almost as contemptible as committing a crime. Waller's purpose in gifting the rose is to persuade the woman to take advantage of the beauty she already has in order to accept his proposal.
Unlike "Go, lovely Rose," "Beauty" tries to communicate that beauty, with its many wonders, comes with a price. In "Beauty," Hoagland is the speaker of the poem, and the witness to his sister's downfall in the world of beauty. In the first stanza of his poem, Hoagland writes, "My sister said she knew she would never be beautiful again" (Hoagland 4-5). This kind of wording brings an aura of sadness because, although the speaker isn’t affected in its entirety, he sees that sister has lost something that she once held safe in her heart. Because Hoagland is an outside witness, he begins to reminisce on his sister's attempts to try to capture as much beauty...

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