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A White Rose by John Boyle O'Reilly

  • Date Submitted: 03/31/2011 01:18 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 64.2 
  • Words: 264
  • Essay Grade: no grades
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A White Rose
THE red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
O, the red rose is a falcon,
And the white rose is a dove.

But I send you a cream-white rosebud
With a flush on its petal tips;
For the love that is purest and sweetest
Has a kiss of desire on the lips

Explain

The first stanza talks about the "red rose whisper[ing] of passion" which is obviously comparing the red rose to passion. Next, O'Reilly gives the depiction of "a white rose breath[ing] of love" which is again an obvious metaphor, portraying the white rose as love. He then mentions a falcon in comparison to a red rose. O'Reilly insinuates through this that the red rose (passion) is aggressive and also that the white rose (love) is docile by comparing it to a dove.

The second stanza of the poem mentions "a cream-white rosebud, with a flush on its petal tips" which gives the image of a white rosebud fringed with a "reddish" color. Next, the author says the "love that is purest and sweetest has a kiss of desire on the lips". This expresses that the optimal love would contain a mixture of passion and the everlasting bond of affection we term: love. Now notice that the largest portion of the flower is white, conveying love, and only contains a small part of the desire, or the flush portion. Therefore, O'reilly's view of the "best love" is mainly consisting of devotion and minimal part of carnality.

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