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English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

George Sewell

298. The Dying Man in His Garden

WHY, Damon, with the forward day

Dost thou thy little spot survey,

From tree to tree, with doubtful cheer,

Pursue the progress of the year,

What winds arise, what rains descend,

When thou before that year shalt end?

What do thy noontide walks avail,

To clear the leaf, and pick the snail,

Then wantonly to death decree

An insect usefuller than thee?

Thou and the worm are brother-kind,

As low, as earthy, and as blind.

Vain wretch! canst thou expect to see

The downy peach make court to thee?

Or that thy sense shall ever meet

The bean-flower’s deep-embosom’d sweet

Exhaling with an evening blast?

Thy evenings then will all be past!

Thy narrow pride, thy fancied green

(For vanity’s in little seen)

All must be left when Death appears,

In spite of wishes, groans, and tears;

Nor one of all thy plants that grow

But Rosemary will with thee go.