Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A DEAD ROSE, by ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A DEAD ROSE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: O rose, who dares to name thee?
Last Line: Lie still upon this heart which breaks below thee!
Subject(s): Roses


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 odor up the lane to last all day, --
If breathing now, unsweetened would forgo 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 recognize thee,
Alone, alone! the heart doth smell thee sweet,
Doth view thee fair, doth judge thee most complete,
Perceiving all those changes that disguise thee.


Yes, and the heart doth owe thee
More love, dead rose, than to any roses bold
Which Julia wears at dances, smiling cold: --
Lie still upon this heart which breaks below thee!

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