The Garden

Andrew Marvell

 
How vainly men themselves amaze
To win the palm, the oak, or bays;
And their uncessant labors see
Crowned from some single herb or tree,
Whose short and narrow-vergèd shade
Does prudently their toils upbraid;
While all the flowers and trees do close
To weave the garlands of repose.
Fair Quiet, have I found thee here,
And Innocence, thy sister dear!
Mistaken long, I sought you then
In busy companies of men:
Your sacred plants, if here below,
Only among the plants will grow;
Society is all but rude,
To this delicious solitude.
No white nor red was ever seen
So amorous as this lovely green;
Fond lovers, cruel as their flame,
Cut in these trees their mistress' name.
Little, alas, they know or heed,
How far these beauties hers exceed!
Fair trees! wheresoe'er your barks I wound
No name shall but your own be found.
When we have run our passion's heat,
Love hither makes his best retreat:
The gods who mortal beauty chase,
Still in a tree did end their race.
Apollo hunted Daphne so,
Only that she might laurel grow,
And Pan did after Syrinx speed,
Not as a nymph, but for a reed.
What wondrous life is this I lead!
Ripe apples drop about my head;
The luscious clusters of the vine
Upon my mouth do crush their wine;
The nectarine and curious peach
Into my hands themselves do reach;
Stumbling on melons as I pass,
Insnared with flowers, I fall on grass.
Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less,
Withdraws into its happiness:
The mind, that ocean where each kind
Does straight its own resemblance find;
Yet it creates, transcending these,
Far other worlds, and other seas;
Annihilating all that's made
To a green thought in a green shade.
Here at the fountain's sliding foot,
Or at some fruit-tree's mossy root,
Casting the body's vest aside,
My soul into the boughs does glide:
There like a bird it sits and sings,
Then whets and combs its silver wings;
And, till prepared for longer flight,
Waves in its plumes the various light.
Such was that happy garden-state,
While man there walked without a mate:
After a place so pure and sweet,
What other help could yet be meet!
But 'twas beyond a mortal's share
To wander solitary there:
Two paradises 'twere in one
To live in Paradise alone.
How well the skillful gard'ner drew
Of flowers and herbs this dial new;
Where from above the milder sun
Does through a fragrant zodiac run;
And, as it works, th' industrious bee
Computes its time as well as we.
How could such sweet and wholesome hours
Be reckoned but with herbs and flowers!
 

Poems by This Author

Bermudas by Andrew Marvell
Where the remote Bermudas ride
The Definition of Love by Andrew Marvell
My Love is of a birth as rare
The Mower Against Gardens by Andrew Marvell
Luxurious man, to bring his vice in use
The Mower's Song by Andrew Marvell
My mind was once the true survey
The Picture of Little T. C. in a Prospect of Flowers by Andrew Marvell
See with what simplicity
To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell
Had we but world enough, and time,


Further Reading

Related Poems
I Too Was Loved By Daphne
by Judith Baumel
Poems about Gardens
from Fairies
by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge
Letter to Brooks [Spring Garden]
by Major Jackson
A Parisian Roof Garden in 1918
by Natalie Clifford Barney
Angel of Duluth [excerpt]
by Madelon Sprengnether
Austerity
by Janet Loxley Lewis
Bulb Planting Time
by Edgar Guest
Digging Potatoes, Sebago, Maine
by Amy E. King
Done With
by Ann Stanford
Garden Homage
by Medbh McGuckian
Garden of Bees
by Matthew Rohrer
Herb Garden
by Timothy Steele
In the Garden
by Thomas Hardy
In the Happo-En Garden, Tokyo
by Linda Pastan
Loneliness
by Trumbull Stickney
Lucinda Matlock
by Edgar Lee Masters
My Garden with Walls
by William Brooks
October (section I)
by Louise Glück
osculation for easter flower
by Sandra Miller
Telling the Bees
by Deborah Digges
The Garden Year
by Sara Coleridge
The Mower Against Gardens
by Andrew Marvell
The Public Garden
by Robert Lowell
They'll spend the summer
by Joshua Beckman
This Compost
by Walt Whitman
Trees in the Garden
by D. H. Lawrence