The Marigold

Original Text: 
George Wither, A collection of emblems, ancient and moderne, quickened with metricall illustrations (London: A. M. for H. Taunton, 1635). stc f Fisher Rare Book Library. Facs. edn. (Menston: Scolar Press, 1968). PR 2392 E5 1968 Large Victoria College Library.
2The grateful and obsequious marigold,
3How duly, ev'ry morning, she displays
4Her open breast, when Titan spreads his rays;
5How she observes him in his daily walk,
6Still bending towards him her tender stalk;
7How, when he down declines, she droops and mourns,
8Bedew'd, as 'twere, with tears, till he returns;
9And how she veils her flow'rs when he is gone,
10As if she scorned to be looked on
11By an inferior eye, or did contemn
12To wait upon a meaner light than him;
13When this I meditate, methinks the flowers
14Have spirits far more generous than ours,
15And give us fair examples to despise
16The servile fawnings and idolatries
17Wherewith we court these earthly things below,
18Which merit not the service we bestow.
19But, O my God! though groveling I appear
20Upon the ground (and have a rooting here
22To that which is above me I aspire;
23And all my best affections I profess
24To Him that is the sun of righteousness.
25Oh, keep the morning of His incarnation,
26The burning noontide of His bitter passion,
27The night of His descending, and the height
28Of His ascension ever in my sight,
29    That imitating Him in what I may,
30    I never follow an inferior way.


1] The first emblem book (or book containing pictorial representations whose symbolic meaning is expressed in words) was the Emblematum Libellus of Alciati (1522). This was widely imitated, Quarles and Wither being the best known English emblem writers. Back to Line
21] hales: drags. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP.1.301; RPO 1996-2000.