The poem Go, Lovely Rose by Edmund Waller uses the rose as a symbol for beauty. Specifically, it is the female beauty of the woman that the author loved. Through this symbolism, the rose and the woman are compared in terms of both aesthetical attractiveness and frailty, as both are limited in their time. They are both seen as something to be admired and coveted, but also as something that cannot live without their beauty being appreciated by someone.
Dorothy Parker’s One Perfect Rose takes a different approach to the symbolism of the rose by poetically implying that it has no meaning at all. The poem explains the classical interpretation of the rose as a symbol, which is pure-hearted or passionate love. However, the last stanza dismisses the symbolisms by lamenting that the author never gets sent a “perfect limousine”. This implies that she finds such a gift to be more meaningful than a rose.
The Sick Rose by William Blake, similarly to Dorothy Parker’s poem, uses the rose as a symbol for love. However, this work takes a unique twist by describing the death of the rose at the hands of a worm. Here, the love is destroyed by something – possibly betrayal or cheating. It is possible that the rose is used here also to represent female chastity or innocence, which is being corrupted by outside influence. In this case, the symbolism further emphasizes the frailness of the rose against outside influence.
Throughout the three poems, the rose serves as a symbol for love and beauty. It can also be used to symbolize something beautiful, fragile, and ephemeral. Finally, while the rose can be used to represent anyone’s beauty, it is often seen in regards to females. In this way, it can represent several aspects – a woman’s beauty, innocence, chastity, or frailty.