The Rose Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


Betwene the Cytee and the Chirche of Bethlehem is the feldeA
Floridus that is to seyne the feld florisched For alsB
moche as a fayre Mayden was blamed with wrong andC
sclaundred that sche hadde don fornicacioun for whicheD
cause sche was demed to the dethe and to be brent in thatE
place to the whiche sche was ladd And as the fyre began toF
brenne about hire she made hire preyeres to oure Lord thatE
als wissely as sche was not gylty of that synne that heG
wold help hire and make it to be knowen to alle men of hisH
mercyfulle grace and whanne she had thus seyd sche enteredI
into the fuyer and anon was the fuyer quenched and outeI
and the brondes that weren brennynge becomen white RoseresH
fulle of roses and theise weren the first Roseres andI
roses bothe white and rede that evere ony man saughe AndI
thus was this Maiden saved be the Grace of GodI
'The Voiage and Travaile of Sir John Maundevile'J
Nay EDITH spare the rose it lives it livesH
It feels the noon tide sun and drinks refresh'dI
The dews of night let not thy gentle handI
Tear sunder its life fibres and destroyK
The sense of being why that infidel smileJ
Come I will bribe thee to be mercifulJ
And thou shall have a tale of other timesH
For I am skill'd in legendary loreL
So thou wilt let it live There was a timeM
Ere this the freshest sweetest flower that bloomsH
Bedeck'd the bowers of earth Thou hast not heardI
How first by miracle its fragrant leavesH
Spread to the sun their blushing lovelinessH
There dwelt at Bethlehem a Jewish maidI
And Zillah was her name so passing fairN
That all Judea spake the damsel's praiseH
He who had seen her eyes' dark radianceH
How quick it spake the soul and what a soulJ
Beam'd in its mild effulgence woe was heG
For not in solitude for not in crowdsH
Might he escape remembrance or avoidI
Her imaged form that followed every whereN
And fill'd the heart and fix'd the absent eyeO
Woe was he for her bosom own'd no loveP
Save the strong ardours of religious zealJ
For Zillah on her God had centered allJ
Her spirit's deep affections So for herQ
Her tribes men sigh'd in vain yet reverencedI
The obdurate virtue that destroyed their hopesH
One man there was a vain and wretched manR
Who saw desired despair'd and hated herQ
His sensual eye had gloated on her cheekS
Even till the flush of angry modestyI
Gave it new charms and made him gloat the moreL
She loath'd the man for Hamuel's eye was boldI
And the strong workings of brute selfishnessH
Had moulded his broad features and she fear'dI
The bitterness of wounded vanityI
That with a fiendish hue would overcastI
His faint and lying smile Nor vain her fearT
For Hamuel vowed revenge and laid a plotI
Against her virgin fame He spread abroadI
Whispers that travel fast and ill reportsH
That soon obtain belief that Zillah's eyeO
When in the temple heaven ward it was rais'dI
Did swim with rapturous zeal but there were thoseH
Who had beheld the enthusiast's melting glanceH
With other feelings fill'd that 'twas a taskU
Of easy sort to play the saint by dayI
Before the public eye but that all eyesH
Were closed at night that Zillah's life was foulJ
Yea forfeit to the lawJ
Shame shame to manR
That he should trust so easily the tongueV
That stabs another's fame the ill reportI
Was heard repeated and believed and soonW
For Hamuel by most damned artificeH
Produced such semblances of guilt the MaidI
Was judged to shameful deathX
Without the wallsH
There was a barren field a place abhorr'dI
For it was there where wretched criminalsH
Were done to die and there they built the stakeY
And piled the fuel round that should consumeZ
The accused Maid abandon'd as it seem'dI
By God and man The assembled BethlemitesH
Beheld the scene and when they saw the MaidI
Bound to the stake with what calm holinessH
She lifted up her patient looks to HeavenA2
They doubted of her guilt With other thoughtsH
Stood Hamuel near the pile him savage joyK
Led thitherward but now within his heartI
Unwonted feelings stirr'd and the first pangsH
Of wakening guilt anticipating HellJ
The eye of Zillah as it glanced aroundI
Fell on the murderer once but not in wrathB2
And therefore like a dagger it had fallenA2
Had struck into his soul a cureless woundI
Conscience thou God within us not in the hourQ
Of triumph dost thou spare the guilty wretchD
Not in the hour of infamy and deathX
Forsake the virtuous they draw near the stakeY
And lo the torch hold hold your erring handsH
Yet quench the rising flames they rise they spreadI
They reach the suffering Maid oh God protectI
The innocent oneA2
They rose they spread they ragedI
The breath of God went forth the ascending fireQ
Beneath its influence bent and all its flamesH
In one long lightning flash collecting fierceH
Darted and blasted Hamuel him aloneC2
Hark what a fearful scream the multitudeI
Pour forth and yet more miracles the stakeY
Buds out and spreads its light green leaves and bowersH
The innocent Maid and roses bloom aroundI
Now first beheld since Paradise was lostI
And fill with Eden odours all the airN

Robert Southey


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