The Garden

Original Text: 
Andrew Marvell, Miscellaneous Poems, ed. Mary Marvell (1681). Facs. edn.: Scolar Press, 1969. PR 3546 A1 1681A ROBA.
3And their uncessant labours see
4Crown'd from some single herb or tree,
5Whose short and narrow verged shade
6Does prudently their toils upbraid;
7While all flow'rs and all trees do close
8To weave the garlands of repose.
9Fair Quiet, have I found thee here,
10And Innocence, thy sister dear!
11Mistaken long, I sought you then
12In busy companies of men;
13Your sacred plants, if here below,
14Only among the plants will grow.
15Society is all but rude,
16To this delicious solitude.
17No white nor red was ever seen
18So am'rous as this lovely green.
19Fond lovers, cruel as their flame,
20Cut in these trees their mistress' name;
21Little, alas, they know or heed
22How far these beauties hers exceed!
23Fair trees! wheres'e'er your barks I wound,
24No name shall but your own be found.
25When we have run our passion's heat,
26Love hither makes his best retreat.
27The gods, that mortal beauty chase,
28Still in a tree did end their race:
30Only that she might laurel grow;
32Not as a nymph, but for a reed.
33What wond'rous life in this I lead!
34Ripe apples drop about my head;
35The luscious clusters of the vine
36Upon my mouth do crush their wine;
38Into my hands themselves do reach;
39Stumbling on melons as I pass,
40Ensnar'd with flow'rs, I fall on grass.
41Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less,
42Withdraws into its happiness;
45Yet it creates, transcending these,
46Far other worlds, and other seas;
48To a green thought in a green shade.
49Here at the fountain's sliding foot,
50Or at some fruit tree's mossy root,
52My soul into the boughs does glide;
53There like a bird it sits and sings,
55And, till prepar'd for longer flight,
57Such was that happy garden-state,
58While man there walk'd without a mate;
59After a place so pure and sweet,
61But 'twas beyond a mortal's share
62To wander solitary there:
63Two paradises 'twere in one
64To live in paradise alone.
65How well the skillful gard'ner drew
67Where from above the milder sun
68Does through a fragrant zodiac run;
69And as it works, th' industrious bee
71How could such sweet and wholesome hours
72Be reckon'd but with herbs and flow'rs!


1] Marvell wrote a Latin version of this poem, probably before the English one. Back to Line
2] crowns for victors in games, politics, and poetry. Back to Line
29] Daphne, pursued by Apollo, was turned into a laurel. Back to Line
31] Syrinx, pursued by Pan, was turned into a reed. Back to Line
37] curious: exquisite. Back to Line
43] kind: species. Back to Line
44] "That all animals of the land are in their kind in the sea, although received as a principle, is a tenent very questionable" (Browne). Back to Line
47] Annihilating: reducing to nothing, or, more probably, reducing to elements. Back to Line
51] vest: vesture, garment. Back to Line
54] whets: preens. Back to Line
56] various: i.e., the broken lights of this world as compared to the white light of eternity. Back to Line
60] See Genesis 2:18. Back to Line
66] this dial: a floral dial in the garden. Back to Line
70] time: perhaps a pun on time and thyme. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
3RP 1.351-53.