The Rose

Or a Wish for Transformation To E. N.

How highly esteem'd is the sweet smelling rose
Tis reckon'd the ‘finest of Flowers’
Unrival'd in flower-pots and posies it glows
Nay the Queen of Parnassuse's Bowers
And was I like Proteus so powerful indew'd
With that uncommon magical power
My form should this instant be chang'd and renew'd
Yes turn'd to this beautiful flower

Tho this strange Metamorphus by me so excited
'T'is not for my love of the flowers
Nor is it the title with which I'm delighted
To be ‘Queen of parnassion bowers’
No no thats a trifle not worth the possesing
Far beneath the fond wish of a swain
In the way that I crave it—'t'would—O a blessing!
A blessing not call'd so in vain

My wish for the change—is to win Chloe's bosom
Those two swelling mountains of snow
Where so nice in the Valley—each side to repose—on!
I could see them both heave too and fro
There posses'd of my Love a rose-life (or a day)
I would kiss all its heaving alarms
And when doom'd to wither I'd secretly stray
To die in the midst of her charms

This is why I wish for't:—my Chloe my dear
Believe the fond truth that I show
Tho you cannot expect the strange scene to appear
Yet my Uncommon Love you may know!

The Early Poems of John Clare 1804-1822
ed. Eric Robinson, David Powell and Margaret Grainger
(Oxford, 2 volumes, I-II, 1989)

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