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The Rose Tree Analysis



Author: poem of William Butler Yeats Type: poem Views: 31

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'O words are lightly spoken,'

Said Pearse to Connolly,

'Maybe a breath of politic words

Has withered our Rose Tree;

Or maybe but a wind that blows

Across the bitter sea.'



'It needs to be but watered,'

James Connolly replied,

'To make the green come out again

And spread on every side,

And shake the blossom from the bud

To be the garden's pride.'



'But where can we draw water,'

Said Pearse to Connolly,

'When all the wells are parched away?

O plain as plain can be

There's nothing but our own red blood

Can make a right Rose Tree.'






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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

William Butler Yeats is often thought of as the key literary voice of the Irish independence movement, and his poetry reflects a political identity which galvanizes struggle and sacrifice. Yeats supported the idea that part of Ireland’s future must come from its past. He put republican heroes on a pedestal and glorified the fighting spirit of the nationalists. In his poem “The Rose Tree,” Yeats crafts an imagined conversation between Padraig Pearse and James Connolly, two prominent leaders in the Irish independence movement. The poem states:
'O WORDS are lightly spoken,'
Said Pearse to Connolly,
'Maybe a breath of politic words
Has withered our Rose Tree;
Or maybe but a wind that blows
Across the bitter sea.'
"It needs to be but watered,'
James Connolly replied,
"To make the green come out again
And spread on every side,
And shake the blossom from the bud
To be the garden's pride.'
"But where can we draw water,'
Said Pearse to Connolly,
"When all the wells are parched away?
O plain as plain can be
There's nothing but our own red blood
Can make a right Rose Tree'” (1-18).
Within the poem the rose tree clearly represents the nation of Ireland that has withered due to “a breath of politic words” (3) or by a “wind that blows/Across the bitter sea.'” (5-6). Yeats is suggesting that political maneuvering has harmed the nation of Ireland, which is to independence can not simply come from passive politics but that it requires action. Furthermore, the wind in this stanza is representative of England as England resides across the sea from Ireland, and it has blown over the rose tree, which is to say England has forced Ireland into submission. Within this stanza we observe the clear influence of England on Ireland. In the second and third stanza Yeats reveals his notion of Irish identity.
Yeats suggests that in order to bloom the rose tree must be watered. He crafts an image where the rose tree is watered by “our own red blood” (17). Unmistakably, Pearse and Connolly state that they are willing to give their own lives to see the restoration of an Ireland governed by the Irish. Their sacrifice reflects that of Christ’s crucifixion, but within this context it is Ireland that will be resurrected anew through their spilt blood. What we see in Yeats is an effort to connect Irish identity with independence from Britain, revolution, struggle, and sacrifice. We also see an emphasis on remembering the past and taking action to validate the efforts of the Irish men and women of the past. MacAnnaidh suggest authors like Yeats “were consciously choosing to see themselves as Irish and to weave another strand into the cultural tapestry of the country rather than to remain aloof and try to be British” (210). This idea is evident in Yeats’ poem “The Wild Swans at Coole.” Within the poem Yeats fuses elements of Irish landscape with his concept of Irish identity. He writes,
“Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold,
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still” (19-24).
In this passage we observe a portrait of Irish nature in which figures of Irish culture, Swans, also represent the Yeats’ concept of Irish identity. These swans “hearts have not grown old” (22) and they continue to “paddle in the cold” (20), just as the Irish people have continued to fight against the injustices of British rule. Thus, in the poem Yeats continues to establish his politicized national identity that galvanizes struggle and sacrifice. Yeats’ poetry expresses an Irish identity that is political, focused on the past, and idealistic about the future of Ireland and its people.

| Posted on 2015-12-19 | by a guest


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James Connolly once derided Patrick Pearse for glorifying bloodshed, saying, 'No, we do not think the old heart of the earth needs to be warmed with the red wine of millions of lives. We think anyone who does is a blithering idiot.' Nevertheless, Connolly, like Pearse, was willing to shed his own blood when the time came, in the Easter Rising of 1916. This poem could be interpreted as Pearse convincing Connolly that blood sacrifice was ultimately the only way of achieving freedom.

| Posted on 2014-12-20 | by a guest


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Yeats, suggests that the political words spoken on the streets of Ireland are dividing the country, been referred to as a Rose Tree. He also suggests that Ireland would be green again if this conflict stoped, and there Irish blood has been spilt.
By Christopher Lamont

| Posted on 2009-06-03 | by a guest




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