Pamphleteer, satirist, and political activist, Marvell served with Oliver Cromwell during the period of the Civil Wars in England. Poetry written outside of politics, discovered in his home after his death, was not completely published until 1891. One of the Metaphysical poets, he was a favorite of T.S. Eliot's.
A Garden by Andrew Marvell Written after the Civil Wars See how the flowers, as at parade, Under their colours stand display'd: Each regiment in order grows, That of the tulip, pink, and rose. But when the vigilant patrol Of stars walks round about the pole, Their leaves, that to the stalks are curl'd, Seem to their staves the ensigns furl'd. Then in some flower's beloved hut Each bee, as sentinel, is shut, And sleeps so too; but if once stirr'd, She runs you through, nor asks the word. O thou, that dear and happy Isle, The garden of the world ere while, Thou Paradise of the four seas Which Heaven planted us to please, But, to exclude the world, did guard With wat'ry if not flaming sword; What luckless apple did we taste To make us mortal and thee waste! Unhappy! shall we never more That sweet militia restore, When gardens only had their towers, And all the garrisons were flowers; When roses only arms might bear, And men did rosy garlands wear? The Picture Of Little T. C. In A Prospect Of Flowers by Andrew Marvell See with what simplicity This nymph begins her golden days! In the green grass she loves to lie, And there with her fair aspect tames The wilder flowers, and gives them names; But only with the roses plays, And them does tell What colour best becomes them, and what smell. Who can foretell for what high cause This darling of the gods was born? Yet this is she whose chaster laws The wanton Love shall one day fear, And, under her command severe, See his bow broke and ensigns torn. Happy who can Appease this virtuous enemy of man! O then let me in time compound And parley with those conquering eyes, Ere they have tried their force to wound; Ere with their glancing wheels they drive In triumph over hearts that strive, And them that yield but more despise: Let me be laid, Where I may see the glories from some shade. Meantime, whilst every verdant thing Itself does at thy beauty charm, Reform the errors of the Spring; Make that the tulips may have share Of sweetness, seeing they are fair, And roses of their thorns disarm; But most procure That violets may a longer age endure But O, young beauty of the woods, Whom Nature courts with fruits and flowers, Gather the flowers, but spare the buds; Lest Flora, angry at thy crime To kill her infants in their prime, Do quickly make th' example yours; And ere we see, Nip in the blossom all our hopes and thee.§
Return to home page.