A poem by Toru Dutt
Love came to Flora asking for a flower
That would of flowers be undisputed queen,
The lily and the rose, long, long had been
Rivals for that high honour. Bards of power
Had sung their claims. "The rose can never tower
Like the pale lily with her Juno mien"--
"But is the lily lovelier?" Thus between
Flower-factions rang the strife in Psyche's bower.
"Give me a flower delicious as the rose
And stately as the lily in her pride"--
"But of what colour?"--"Rose-red," Love first chose,
Then prayed,--"No, lily-white,--or, both provide;"
And Flora gave the lotus, "rose-red" dyed,
And "lily-white,"--the queenliest flower that blows.
An Analysis of the Poem 'The Lotus' by Toru Dutt;
Toru Dutt is one of the famous Indo-Anglican poets. Most of her poems have an Indian theme and an Indian background. The poem, 'The Lotus' is a sonnet in the Petrarchan type. Toru Dutt's mastery over the sonnet form is proved in this poem. The sonnet is divided into two divisions, the Octave and the Sestet. The octave consists of eight lines and the sestet consists of six lines. A sonnet deals with a single idea, the octave proposing and the sestet resolving. Within 14 lines of the sonnet, Toru Dutt raises a problem in the Octave and resolves it in the sestet. In this poem, Toru Dutt presents the idea that the Indian Lotus is the most beautiful of all flowers. For a long time, Lily and Rose had been fighting for the title 'Queen of flowers.' Each flower with its own support from poets, claimed for the title. At this time, God of Love came to Goddess Flora asking for a flower, which would be the unchallenged queen of flowers. She wanted for a flower, which was stately as the Lily and as delicious as the Rose.
Goddess Flora gave God of Love the lotus flower and resolved the long standing quarrel between Lily and Rose. Great poets supported the flowers according to their wish, and some poets even raised the doubt if the lily was beautiful than the rose. Lotus combines the redness of the rose with the paleness of the lily. Goddess Flora created Lotus, which was both rose red and lily white.
One more thing to note is that the lotus is a flower of significance both to Indian and the Hindu religion. We can understand Toru Dutt's affection for an Indian flower and also she wanted to establish the superiority of Hindu religion over other religions in the world. As Toru Dutt was brought up and educated abroad, she always turned to classical mythology to establish her stand.
Love went to Flora (the roman goddess of flowers) asking for a flower that would be accepted by everyone as the queen. The LILY & Rose had been the rivals for this honour.
Many famous and powerful poets said
Poets favouring Lily said -
The rose can never tower Like the pale lily withe her juno mien (Juno was a beautiful Roman Goddess; The beauty of a lily is compared to the beautiful face (mien) of Juno) Poets favouring Rose said -
Is the lily lovelier than the rose?
The supporters of lily and rose fought with each other in Phyche's Bower (Goddess Psyche's summer house in a garden) Then Love said that give me a flower as sweet smelling as the rose And as grand as the lily in her pride
Then Flora said of what colour? -
Love said Rose-Red or Lily White or Both provide.
Then Flora gave the Lotus, rose-red dyed And lily-white
The most queen like flower that blows.
4 May 1856
Kolkata, Bengal, British India
30 August 1877 (aged 21)
Kolkata, Bengal, British India
Parents Govind Chunder Dutt
the lotus by Toru Dutt Project
Toru Dutt only lived to be 21, but during her short...
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