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Introduction

My Pretty Rose Tree is a short 2-stanza poem having lines each. It mainly deals with the theme of jealousy and problems because of over-possessiveness. In this poem, the speaker is probably a man and flower as well as rose-tree are ladies because it is red in color and beautiful and so are women.

The flower is a beautiful lady who is offered to the speaker but the latter denies her as he has a pretty rose-tree at his home i.e. his wife or beloved. However because for some reason, the “pretty rose-tree” turns out jealous of the speaker.

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The rhyme scheme of the poem is ABAB CDCD.

Poem

Stanza 1

In the first stanza, the speaker says that a flower was offered to him. As discussed earlier, the flower is probably a woman. Note that the flower was offered to him by someone else. The flower didn’t come to him voluntarily. Probably her father or guardian offered the speaker to marry or love her (the flower i.e. woman). The poet is probably pointing towards the patriarchal notion of society during his time.

In the 2nd line, the speaker says that the flower was so beautiful that even the month of May could not bear such a flower. This line is symbolic as May here refers to the spring season. So, according to the speaker, she was so beautiful that even the most beautiful thing (flowers of spring season) on earth would fade before her.

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In the third line, the speaker says that he did not accept the offer and told the person who offered him the flower that he (speaker) has a pretty Rose-tree. Let us look at two important things in this line.

First, the poet says, “I have“. The phrase again symbolizes the patriarchy and also his dominating nature. The pretty Rose-tree is more like a possession rather than a human being for him. She might not be willing to love him or live with him (the speaker),

Second, the poet calls his beloved or wife (whoever she is) a Pretty Rose-tree and not a flower. According to Antal, “The rose-tree, as a rose bush, hints at the possibility of childbearing”. So the speaker probably wants the woman to bear a child for him and the woman does not want to fall in this trap.

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In the fourth line, the speaker says that he passed the sweet flower over i.e. he rejected the sweet flower. Note that this is the second time the speaker praises the flower – calls her sweet.

Stanza 2

In the second stanza, the speaker returns back to his Pretty Rose-tree. Here again, the speaker uses the word “My”. This shows how possessive he is.

He tends to her i.e. takes care of her dedicatedly by day and by night i.e. all the time. This line gives an insight into how the pretty Rose-tree is treated. The speaker takes too much care of her. Instead of loving her as a human being, he idealizes her. Hence what she does not get what she desires and then the problem begins.

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In the third line, the speaker says that his Rose turned away him with jealousy. Let us look into two important points in the line.

First, the poet again uses the word “My”, stressing on his possessive and dominating nature. Second, he is turned away i.e. rejected with jealousy. The jealousy can be because of two reasons. First because of the pretty flower; the poet might have told her about the beauty of the lady whom she rejected which made his beloved or wife become jealous of him and reject him.

Second, the over-possessive and dominating nature of the speaker would have made the lady hate him. He could not treat her as a human with basic needs like freedom and independence which made her hate him.

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In the final line, the speaker says that her thorns were his only delight. This line is again problematic. “Thorns” here perhaps refer to her hate and harshness towards the speaker. The poet has idealized the lady so much that he finds comfort and joy in her hate and harshness.

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