Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

HUNDRED-LEAFED ROSE, by                 Poet's Biography

"Hundred-Leafed Rose" by James Clarence Mangan is a rich, vividly-imagined poem that celebrates the beauty and significance of the rose, while also invoking various historical, biblical, and cultural references to elaborate its symbolism.

Provenance and Context: Mangan, an Irish poet, was known for his lyrical eloquence and rich imagery. The rose, a universal symbol of love, beauty, and complexity, serves as the central theme.

Poetic Devices and Language Analysis:

Imagery and Metaphor: Mangan uses powerful imagery and metaphors to depict the rose's beauty and grandeur. For instance, he compares the rose to Solomon's throne, emphasizing its regal and splendid nature. He also describes the rose as a "Princess tranced by a talisman's power," suggesting its enchanting and mystical qualities.

Repetition and Refrain: The phrase "Hundred-leaf?d ROSE" is repeated at the end of many stanzas, serving as a refrain that reinforces the central theme and lends a rhythmic unity to the poem.

Allusion: The poem alludes to various figures and stories from religious, historical, and mythological contexts, such as Mose (Moses), Solomon, Harut and Marut, and Balkis Queen, among others. These allusions add layers of meaning and symbolism to the rose.


Beauty and Grandeur: The poem vividly portrays the rose's beauty and grandeur, celebrating its intricate form, vibrant color, and enchanting fragrance.

Transience and Vulnerability: Despite its beauty, the rose is depicted as transient and vulnerable, subjected to the harsh realities of nature and human intervention. This theme resonates with the traditional view of the rose as a symbol of fleeting beauty and the ephemeral nature of life.

Restoration and Renewal: In the concluding stanzas, the poem alludes to a rejuvenation or restoration, symbolized by the re-blooming of the rose. This might hint at the cyclic nature of life, with seasons of both decay and renewal.

"Hundred-Leafed Rose" showcases Mangan's ability to infuse rich imagery and emotive language into his works. His depiction of the rose is both vivid and symbolic, making it an allegory for beauty, grandeur, transience, and renewal. It serves as a testament to his ability to imbue the natural world with profound meaning and emotion.

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