Poems, by Andrew Marvell

The Garden

(Translated.)

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!

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/m/marvell/andrew/poems/poem6.html

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 23:09