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uncessant

The Garden (poem)

The Garden How vainly men themselves amaze To win the Palm, the Oke, or Bayes; And their uncessant Labours see Crown'd from some single Herb or Tree, Whose short and narrow verged Shade Does prudently their Toyles upbraid; While all Flow'rs and all 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 busie 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 am'rous 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! where s'eer your barkes I wound, No Name shall but your own be found.

When we have run our Passion' heat, Love hither makes his best retreat. The Gods, that 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 wond'rous life in this I lead! Ripe Apples drop about my head; The Luscious Clusters of the Vine Upon my Mouth do crush their Wine; The Nectaren, and curious Peach, Into my hands themselves do reach; Stumbling on Melons, as I pass, Insnared with Flow'rs, I fall on Grass.

Meanwhile the Mind, from pleasure less, Withdraws into its happiness: The Mind, that Ocean where each kind Does streight 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 Fountains sliding foot, Or at some Fruit-trees mossy root, Casting the Bodies 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 prepar'd 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 skilful Gardner drew Of flow'rs and herbs this dial new; Where from above the milder Sun Does through a fragrant Zodiack run; And, as it works, th' industrious Bee Computes its time as well as we. How could such sweet and wholsome Hours Be reckon'd but with herbs and flow'rs!

"The Garden", by Andrew Marvell, is one of the most famous English poems of the seventeenth century. "In his poem called 'The Garden'", H.C. Beeching noted over a century ago, "Marvell has sung a palinode that for richness of phrasing in its sheer sensual love of garden delights is perhaps unmatchable."

Marvell recast much of his poem in Latin, "Hortus", printed to follow "The Garden" in the 1681 posthumous Miscellaneous Poems: Quisnam adeo, mortale genus, præcorda versat? Heu Palmæ Laurique furor, vel simplicis Herbæ!...

Notes

References

Fragments of this poem are used as lyrics in track 2 (Delicious Solitude) and track 10 (Green Thought) of Goran Bregovic's album "Silence of the Balkans"
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