Sunday Poetry – Edmund Waller

This lovely poem by Edmund Waller (picture from here) is one of my favourites. A man wooing his shy young sweetheart by sending her a rose that he hopes will tell her all that he wishes he could say himself. The lover is becoming a little bit impatient though. The threat in the last stanza is subtle but it’s there all the same. If she rejects him again, I think he’ll be moving on.
The sentiments are very similar to those of Andrew Marvell’s To His Coy Mistress. Don’t waste your youth & beauty being shy & retiring. Life’s short, let’s enjoy it while we can.

Go, lovely rose!
Tell her that wastes her time and me
That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.

Tell her that’s young,
And shuns to have her graces spied,
That hadst thou sprung
In deserts, where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended died.

Small is the worth
Of beauty from the light retired;
Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desired,
And not blush so to be admired.

Then die! that she
The common fate of all things rare
May read in thee;
How small a part of time they share
That are so wondrous sweet and fair!

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