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The Rose of Battle By William Butler Yeats – Irish Poem 🌹

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Back with another wonderful Irish love poem. Of course, Yeats had to be featured yet once again. This is a love poem of sorts, and I say that because there is much more depth into emotions and the complexity of our thoughts. 

The Rose of Battle

Yeats is back in the top Irish poems list.

This poem is a much lesser-known poem than the likes of When You Are Old, but just because it is not so well known doesn’t make it a bad poem. In fact, I think it is actually a lot more complex than his other poems. Which is maybe the reason it didn’t resonate with people. Or maybe the fact that he wrote SO many poems, only a handful get picked up. Yeats certainly knows how to use words well(unlike me, it seems! Haha). 

The main themes of the poem are love, war, and the perpetual struggle that defines us. I did say it was a love poem, after all.

Overall, the poem invites readers to reflect on the intertwined nature of life’s challenges and the enduring power of love. 

So let’s get to the poem, shall we?

The Rose of Battle By William Butler Yeats 

Rose of all Roses, Rose of all the World!
The tall thought-woven sails, that flap unfurled
Above the tide of hours, trouble the air,
And God’s bell buoyed to be the water’s care;
While hushed from fear, or loud with hope, a band
With blown, spray-dabbled hair gather at hand,
Turn if you may from battles never done,
I call, as they go by me one by one,
Danger no refuge holds, and war no peace,
For him who hears love sing and never cease,
Beside her clean-swept hearth, her quiet shade:
But gather all for whom no love hath made
A woven silence, or but came to cast
A song into the air, and singing passed
To smile on the pale dawn; and gather you
Who have sougft more than is in rain or dew,
Or in the sun and moon, or on the earth,
Or sighs amid the wandering, starry mirth,
Or comes in laughter from the sea’s sad lips,
And wage God’s battles in the long grey ships.
The sad, the lonely, the insatiable,
To these Old Night shall all her mystery tell;
God’s bell has claimed them by the little cry
Of their sad hearts, that may not live nor die.

Rose of all Roses, Rose of all the World!
You, too, have come where the dim tides are hurled
Upon the wharves of sorrow, and heard ring
The bell that calls us on; the sweet far thing.
Beauty grown sad with its eternity
Made you of us, and of the dim grey sea.
Our long ships loose thought-woven sails and wait,
For God has bid them share an equal fate;
And when at last, defeated in His wars,
They have gone down under the same white stars,
We shall no longer hear the little cry
Of our sad hearts, that may not live nor die.


Amazing, isn’t it?  The echoing refrain, “Rose of all Roses, Rose of all the World!” resonates long after the final lines, leaving us with a sense of reverence for the complexities of life and the enduring power of poetic expression. What did you think of this wonderful Irish love poem? Did you find it overly complicated or profound and well thought out? Comment below. 

Thanks for reading, 


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