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One Perfect Rose

One Perfect Rose


by Dorothy Parker

Stanza 2 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 5-6

I knew the language of the floweret;
'My fragile leaves,' it said, 'his heart enclose.'

  • Hey! It turns out that the flower can speak, and the speaker is able to understand flower language. Talking flowers? Obviously she (and we're just assuming that the speaker is a she) doesn't mean that literally. To give an inanimate object, like a flower, a human quality, like speech, is to use personification
  • The flower told her that her fragile leaves enclosed the man's heart.
  • Oh, so perhaps that whole "deep-hearted" deal in line 3 has something do with the guy's heart being in the flower!
  • The flower is like a messenger that brings his heart, which is to say the flower is a kind of symbol or carrier of the man's feelings. 
  • Meanwhile, what's with all that stuff about fragility?
  • The heart, of course, is often associated with feelings. To be enclosed in "fragile" leaves, then, suggests that the sentiment that comes with the flower is delicate, or easy to break.
  • In other words, here's a modern version of this idea
  • (P.S. Just in case you were wondering, a "floweret" is a little flower. Just like an owlet is a little owl. Here's an angry little owlet. And here are some lovely flowerets.)

Lines 7-8

Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.

  • The speaker now tells us about the connection between love and flowers. Love has long used the perfect rose as his amulet. (An amulet is like a talisman, which is like a physical object that embodies a spiritual power—in this case: love. It could be a statue, a coin, or just about anything, and it also protects its owner from harm. Here's a nice collection of amulets, just in case, you know, you want to buy some.)
  • But why does love need to be protected from harm? 
  • The speaker may be suggesting that people in love use flowers as a kind of defense. The rose is like an amulet in that it maintains the love and keeps it safe.
  • In other words, buying a rose means that the relationship is cool. Do you agree with that idea?
  • Hey, guess what! This stanza has the same rhyme scheme as the first: ABAB. Check out "Form and Meter" for more on that.
  • Guess what else! That phrase "One perfect rose" has been repeated twice, which in the poetry world officially makes this a refrain.

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