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English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Andrew Marvell

252. A Garden

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 belovèd 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 erewhile,

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?