Flowers are just flowers, right? Not according to the poet Thomas Hood (1799- 1845). In this poem, he compares flowers to all that is beautiful.


The first stanza makes sure you want to ask a question. Is this Clytie the water nymph and daughter of Oceanus and Tethys form the Greek Mythology? Maybe this is the daughter of Pandareus and sister of Cameiro, also from the Greek Mythology? Or is this the daughter of Merops and wife of Eurypylus of Cos? The list of women named Clytie is very long and most of them are related to the Greek Mythology. Or perhaps it’s about a plant, that is related to the candlenut tree.

Since hood uses the word mad, one can assume that this is in fact about this water nymph. This poem tells us more about how he sees things in nature. He compares flowers and plants to things we can understand and are part of society. A queen, a nun, a witch. All of them are women or related to women. Is beauty something that can be compared to women? The list of questions about this poem is long. It seems that Hood wants us to understand that beauty is always followed by something that can something negative. All these examples of beauty are related to things that aren’t that beautiful. There is only one flower that holds the truest beauty, according to Hood: the dainty rose. One should not confuse this flower with the dainty bess rose, since this species wasn’t around when Hood wrote his poem. This poem was first published in the poetry collection Friendship’s Offering in 1827. The dainty bess rose (or the dainty bush rose) appeared first at the beginning of the twentieth century.




I will not have the mad Clytie,
Whose head is turned by the sun;
The tulip is a courtly queen,
Whom, therefore, I will shun;
The cowslip is a country wench,
The violet is a nun; –
But I will woo the dainty rose,
The queen of everyone.


The pea is but a wanton witch,
In too much haste to wed,
And clasps her rings on every hand
The wolfsbane I should dread; –
Nor will I dreary rosemary
That always mourns the dead; –
But I will woo the dainty rose,
With her cheeks of tender red.


The lily is all in white, like a saint,
And so is no mate for me –
And the daisy’s cheek is tipped with blush,
She is of such low degree;
Jasmine is sweet, and has many loves,
And the broom’s betrothed to the bee; –
But I will plight with the dainty rose,
For fairest of all is she.

Thomas Hood

Article Name
There is only one flower that is the most beautiful of them all.
Publisher Name
The Ministry of Poetic Affairs

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