The aim of this essay is to present you with an analysis of the lyric poem ‘Song’ by Edmund Waller. It is a lyric poem consisting of four stanzas , each one of four lines, which was written and first published in 1645 in one of his collections titled ‘Poems’. Due to its lyricism, the poem is characterized by the use of main lyric elements and poetic figures of speech which serve this kind of lyricism. The aim of this essay is to present you with the power that metaphor as a poetic figure of speech holds in this poem. Edmund Waller seems to use the metaphor as the main poetic figure of speech and the principal upon which the structure of his poem is built. The essay will shed light on the fact that Edmund Waller uses metaphor in his poem ‘Song’ in order to display the feelings and thoughts which a man may feel when he is observing a woman’s beauty.
Is built upon the metaphor. The main thematic core of the poem is the dialogue developed between the poet and a rose. The poet addresses a rose and personifies it. The metaphor is this kind of figure of speech which gives soul and life to a thing. The rose is treated like a human being by the poet who begins his poem by saying ‘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’.
So, even form the first stanza the poet talks to the rose and asks for a favor. He wants the rose to go and talk to the woman he is in love with because he believes that the rose holds a much more persuasive power compared to the one the poet himself holds. Therefore, the poet asks the rose to go and tell the woman that she wastes her time and she ought to realize that when the poet resembles her to the rose, he actually wishes to show how ‘sweet and fair she seems to be’. It is obvious that the poet wants also to emphasize on the fact that the woman is in the danger of wasting her time and the time she could have with the poet as a happy couple, if she insists on neglecting the chance they have to become happy.
In the second stanza the poet goes on giving his instructions to the rose. ‘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.’ Here, the poet resembles the woman he loves to a rose which exists somewhere in the desert. The woman must not stay hidden by the world and isolated. She ought to be living out in the world without being feared of her beauty or feeling shy. She is a beautiful woman and she ought to be proud of her beauty. It seems that the poet believes that beauty comes as a gift so there is no point in feeling shy or bad about it. The poet resembles the beauty of nature which is given to humans by God to the beauty of a human, female being. Here the metaphor is used as a figure of speech on behalf of the poet so that he can emphasize on the magnitude of the woman’s beauty.
In the third stanza, the poet goes on saying ‘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.’ The instructions here in the third stanza towards the rose go on in a similar way. The rose should persuade the woman that there is no point in her blushing because of her beauty. On the contrary the woman ought to feel comfortable with her beauty and she should come forward and allow others to admire her beauty.
In the last stanza of the poem, the poet writes 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! ‘. In this last stanza of the poem, the poet addresses the rose and asks it to die in the hands of the woman. This is his last way in which he can persuade the woman to find the courage she needs to follow him and let herself enjoy their love. The rose should die since this is the common fate of every human being, of every living organism in the world. Death is the common fate which cannot be avoided and this is the reason why the rose should die in the woman’s hands. If the rose shows the woman what it is that really happens in life, then it will make her realize how short life is. As a result, the woman will realize how important and precious each moment in life is, and will waste no more time in staying away from the poet who loves her so deeply.
It is clear that the poem ‘Song’ is a living metaphor. The Rose of the poem holds the main leading role of the theme of the poem. The rose is a living proof of beauty which is used by the poet in order to symbolize the importance and value of beauty, the significance of each single moment in life and the importance of seizing the day. This is a message on which poetry had already emphasized and it is important according to Edmund Waller for any single individual to keep that in mind.
The flower is metaphorically used as a symbol of life’s mortality and shortness. It is the symbol of how beauty ought to be enjoyed and lived and experienced. It seems that the poet wants to emphasize on the fact that any kind of living creature on earth ought to find its reason of existence and serve its goal of existence. Therefore, a beautiful woman, like the woman who he loves, ought to accept his love and enjoy the beauty of their love.
Waller, Edmund. “Song.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. 9th ed. Booth, Alison et al, eds. New York: WW Norton, 2005. 579. Print.