Songs of Innocence and of Experience

Songs of Innocence and of Experience Summary and Analysis of "My Pretty Rose Tree"


The Rose Tree shows undeserved jealousy when its owner turns down the offer of another flower. Although the speaker rejects a single flower in favor of the several flowers his own tree at home can bear, the Rose Tree is jealous of these attentions and turns away from him, offering only thorns. This is love grown cold for no good reason and demonstrates the great damage that jealousy can bring from a single event, and when read along with the earlier “The Sick Rose,” the widespread damage caused by a small source becomes more plain.


"My Pretty Rose Tree" is a simply constructed poem of two heroic quatrains. The first stanza describes the speaker's temptation in being offered another flower, as well as his protestation that he has his own Rose Tree at home and so does not need another. The second stanza turns to the outcome of his fidelity. The Rose Tree is too jealous to see the speaker as faithful, and so offers him only thorns. The Rose Tree is personified in that it can "turn away" from the speaker and feel jealousy, pointing clearly to the use of the Rose Tree and the flower of the first stanza as metaphors respectively for the speaker's true love or wife and for a temptress placed in his path.