Thursday, June 03, 2010


Princess of the Weeds

George Meredith, The Wild Rose:
High climbs June's wild rose,
Her bush all blooms in a swarm;
And swift from the bud she blows,
In a day when the wooer is warm;
Frank to receive and give,
Her bosom is open to bee and sun:
Pride she has none,
Nor shame she knows;
Happy to live.

Unlike those of the garden nigh,
Her queenly sisters enthroned by art;
Loosening petals one by one
To the fiery Passion's dart
Superbly shy.
For them in some glory of hair,
Or nest of the heaving mounds to lie,
Or path of the bride bestrew.
Ever are they the theme for song.
But nought of that is her share.
Hardly from wayfarers tramping along,
A glance they care not to renew.

And she at a word of the claims of kin
Shrinks to the level of roads and meads:
She is only a plain princess of the weeds,
As an outcast witless of sin:
Much disregarded, save by the few
Who love her, that has not a spot of deceit,
No promise of sweet beyond sweet,
Often descending to sour.
On any fair breast she would die in an hour.
Praises she scarce could bear,
Were any wild poet to praise.
Her aim is to rise into light and air.
One of the darlings of Earth, no more,
And little it seems in the dusty ways,
Unless to the grasses nodding beneath;
The bird clapping wings to soar,
The clouds of an evetide's wreath.
I don't know if this is the same as John Clare's wild rose in his sonnet The Hedge Rose:
The wild rose swells its prickly buds anew
& soon shall wear the summers witching hue
Those hues which nature as its dowery heirs
& beauty like a blossom wins & wears
On her soft cheeks when shepherds in the grove
Reach down the blushing flowers & talk of love
The very bees that such intrusions scare
Frit from the blossom that he culls her there
Flye round mistaken as they leave the bower
& take the maids sweet blushes for a flower
Thus wild dog roseys hung in every hedge
Wakens at joys hearts core its sweetest pledge
Shedding to summer lanes their rich perfume
& whispering memorys raptures while they bloom

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