When Roses cease to bloom, Sir,
And Violets are done —
When Bumblebees in solemn flight
Have passed beyond the Sun —
The hand that paused to gather
Upon this Summer’s day
Will idle lie — in Auburn —
Then take my flowers — pray!

Analysis, meaning and summary of Emily Dickinson's poem When Roses cease to bloom, Sir,


  1. Emile Moelich says:

    When the rose are gone it is only the thorns, stem and leafes that’s left untill they also leave.

  2. Becca P. says:

    The speaker in this poem appears to be telling a person of interest that she is in love with him and wants him to take the gift of affection that she is offering. The flowers (“roses” and “violets”…often used in that all-to-familiar and elementary poem about love: “Roses are red, violets are blue…”) are symbolic of her gift of love…one that she is presenting to her desired lover. However, she goes beyond the elementary symbolism of the roses/violets to suggest that those flowers, which represent her feelings and her love for him, will fade in time. She wants the “Sir” to take the gift she is offering because her love for him will die “in Auburn” (when she passes away).
    She adds an urgency to her desire for him to take her love (“flowers”) by ending the poem with an exclamatory “pray!”. This shows that the speaker is desperate for her intended lover to accept what she wishes to give him since time often goes as quickly as the seasons change and death will close out the opportunity she presents to him.

  3. Cari says:

    I think this poem represents a life cycle…the roses blooming symbolize a birth…the violets dying are death.. The bumblebees passing beyond the sun seems to be fulfilling ones life, completing a goal. And then eventually comes death; the hands picking the flowers represent death of the flowers…which is death of a life to emilys comparison

  4. Sierra says:

    I believe Emily Dickinson’s “Roses Cease to Bloom” is about a death of the capitalized “Sir”.

  5. Crystal says:

    I think Emily has given us the end result to the “Roses are red, violets are blue”…eventually the red roses/blue violets die…

    In this poem, Emily’s praying for God (“When Roses cease to bloom, Sir”

  6. Emily says:

    “When roses cease to bloom” Dickinson is using flowers/nature to exemplify beauty and life. When these two elements cease she wishes to cease as well. Asking the hand that gave her life to take it away.

  7. Anna says:

    I think she wrote this as a way to tell others to not pick flowers. She says at the end that then they can take them, only once they stop blooming.

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