Eugenia Russell

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Roses on a Forest Floor by Andreas Lach

Roses on a Forest Floor by Andreas Lach

Roses on a Forest Floor by Andreas Lach (1817–1882), private collection

From The Rose in Poetry (published 2021)

We often think of the rose as a symbol of love but this collection reveals that it can be so much more. In contrast to its association with love, beauty, purity and perfection, it is also used to signify the loss of romantic hope, crushed dreams, the evocation of beloved places and the passing of time and withering of youth. Reflecting on the budding rose the great Italian Renaissance poet Torquato Tasso wrote: ‘So, in the passing of a day, doth pass / The bud and blossom of the life of man’ (transl. Edward Fairfax).

Drawing on the works of poets as diverse as Horace and Shakespeare and the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore and W.B. Yeats, this collection, rich in metaphor and allusion, brings together a wealth of images where the rose, in the words of Christina Rossetti ‘sets the world on fire’. If you mourn The Last Rose of Summer with Thomas Moore and can imagine throwing a rose at a Pierrot with Sara Teasdale, admire Waterhouse’s two popular paintings entitled Gather ye Rosebuds and the botanical precision of the art of Pierre-Joseph Redouté, this is the book for you.

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