The Mower

Original Text: 
Andrew Marvell, Miscellaneous Poems, ed. Mary Marvell (1681). Facs. edn.: Scolar Press, 1969. PR 3546 A1 1681A ROBA.
2      Did after him the world seduce;
3And from the fields the flow'rs and plants allure,
4      Where nature was most plain and pure.
5He first enclos'd within the garden's square
6      A dead and standing pool of air;
7And a more luscious earth for them did knead,
8      Which stupefied them while it fed.
9The pink grew then as double as his mind;
11With strange perfumes he did the roses taint,
12      And flow'rs themselves were taught to paint.
13The tulip, white, did for complexion seek,
14      And learn'd to interline its cheek;
16      That one was for a meadow sold.
17Another world was search'd, through oceans new,
19And yet these rarities might be allow'd,
20      To man, that sov'reign thing and proud;
21Had he not dealt between the bark and tree,
22      Forbidden mixtures there to see.
23No plant now knew the stock from which it came,
24      He grafts upon the wild the tame;
25That the uncertain and adult'rate fruit
26      Might put the palate in dispute.
27His green seraglio has its eunuchs too,
28      Lest any tyrant him out-do;
29And in the cherry he does nature vex,
30      To procreate without a sex.
31'Tis all enforc'd, the fountain and the grot,
32      While the sweet fields do lie forgot;
33Where willing nature does to all dispense
34      A wild and fragrant innocence;
35And fauns and fairies do the meadows till,
36      More by their presence than their skill.
37Their statues polish'd by some ancient hand,
38      May to adorn the gardens stand;
39But howso'ere the figures do excel,
40      The gods themselves with us do dwell.


1] Luxurious: voluptuous. Back to Line
10] kind: species. Back to Line
15] Tulip bulbs were sold for enormous sums in the seventeenth century. Back to Line
18] the Marvel of Peru: according to Margoliouth Mirabilis Jalapa, called Mirabilia Peruviana in Parkinson's herbal of 1629. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
3RP 1.360-61.