The Old Vicarage, Grantchester "An English Unofficial Rose"
by Rupert Brooke

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"An English Unofficial Rose"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The poet, in Berlin, homesick, always the eulogist of his native land, England, notices that spring has come to Germany. Noticing the flowers and the golden "May fields," he is reminded of spring in Grantchester, where "you may lie/ Day long and watch the Cambridge sky,/ And, flower-lulled in sleepy grass,/ Hear the cool lapse of hours pass." The line, "An English unofficial rose," is the first line wherein the poet's attention turns firmly from the landscape before his eyes to the one spread upon his memory. Having noticed the cultivated flowers which "bloom as they are told," his eyes fall upon a rose growing wildly in some hedges. This rose transports his mind at once to England. He reacts to his observations with lyrical tenderness:

–and there the dews
Are soft beneath a morn of gold.
Here tulips bloom as they are told;
Unkempt about those hedges blows
An English unofficial rose.