The Rose is on Fire!

The title of  “A Red Red Rose” by William Blake already gives an insight into the different levels of complexity in the rest of the poem. At first read, this poem is clearly about a deep love that is described in metaphor to a red rose. However, I think that the title “A Red Red Rose” indicates that this rose is not only red in its color, but it is also on fire. There are several parts of this poem that also support this idea of the rose burning. The themes of water in contrast to the dry, blazing temperatures of June indicate that this rose is existing in either the extremity of blazing heat or the vast sea. However, the line, “And I will love thee still my dear,| Till a’ the seas gang dry”(7-8)  points to the idea of this vast ocean being drained and leaving us with the emptiness of dry sand. I think that this not only supports the idea that this rose is experiencing the extremity of the heat, but also the idea that this love (that the rose is representing) is so extreme that it will remain so long until even when the ocean no longer remains, this love will. This love is filled with such passion that is so burning that it is destructive.  

Blake conveys an intensity that can only be shown through an imagery of a burning rose. A rose is often seen as gentle, delicate, and even sacred. To show a rose burning is to emphasize to the reader the dual emotion of pain and beauty in a love so deep. There is a pain in watching this sacred rose burn, yet the flame against the petals is also a rarely beautiful sight.  

Blake uses this imagery of a burning red rose to convey the urgency and intensity of a love that is in turn self-destructive. Blake is drawing readers to the idea that similar to nature, love is uncontrollable and needs to be left alone to be tended to. 

This idea takes us back to the uncontrollable complexity that is nature. Blake is telling us that love and nature go hand in hand. It is all in the same because both love and nature are things that cannot be controlled and should not be controlled.